The Doll House, Chapter 5: “Normal”

bored

Today Daddy made us invite over Alexander and Cassandra Goth. Well, I don’t for sure if Daddy told Edward that we had to invite them over, but I’m guessing that he did. Edward took Cassandra inside right away- I think that it had something to do with the conversation that Edward and Rory had the other day.

Now I’m standing outside with Alexander, and I say to him, “You go by Alex, right?”

He just looks at me funny, so I’m guessing that he doesn’t, but that’s kind of odd because nobody ever says “Hi, my name’s Alexander and I don’t go by Alex”.

So then I try to find something to talk about with him- I know that a new Captain Simerica comic just came out, so I ask him, “Have you seen the new Captain Simerica comic?”

“No, why would I read something terrible like that when there’s plenty of fine literature to read?” he replies, and I burst out laughing.

“Because that’s the kind of thing that boys read,” I say instinctively, because it’s true. Alexander doesn’t say anything back, but he seems to want to do something else, so I suggest playing pirate, playing computer games, and watching the action channel. He doesn’t seem to want to do anything, so I ask him what he wants to do.

Looking around, he whispers to me, “One day Cassandra took me to the park in Oasis Springs, and I kind of got lost, and I ended up meeting this girl named Rosalynn, and I told her that I would come back and bring some of my old books that I’m done with. I kind of hoped that I would be able to do it today, but then Cassandra said that we had to come here instead.”

“Can’t you call your mommy and ask her to take you?” I ask, but his reply isn’t what I’m expecting.

“My mom- Bella- isn’t home right now. She disappears a lot, so Cassandra ends up taking care of me while our dad is at work.”

“But why doesn’t your dad hire a nanny or someone to take care of you?”

“He doesn’t want anyone to know- he says that it will ‘tarnish our reputation’ or something like that.”

I don’t reply, because I don’t need to- we both know that in families like ours, those words are too familiar.

***

james

After Alexander’s dad, Mortimer, comes to pick him up (Cassandra wanted to stay the night) I remember that today James is supposed to become a child. I’ve never watched anyone age up before, so I’m really excited and rush to his room immediately. It’s kind of weird, watching him stretch while hopping out of the bassinet, but he seems fine when he’s standing in front of me, examining himself.

spilled paint

The first thing that he wants to do is paint, which turns into a disaster when it gets in his hair and won’t wash out. Now he’s going to stick out at school even more than with just his red hair and blue eyes, but none of us can think of any way to get it out of his hair.

***

big news

While Edward and Cassandra are trying some different solutions from their chemistry textbook to get the paint out, Mommy pulls me outside. “Anne- we’re going to have another baby!” she squeals, and I act excited because she is. She seems to be acting almost too happy, but then I decide that that’s not a thing, and that this must be real. And if all of this is real, then I guess it must be normal.

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