[Written October 27, 2010]
As Fabiana pulled in the driveway of her parents’ house, the chorus of “Bye Bye Bye” started up again on the car stereo: “I don’t want to be a fool for you, just another player in your game for two. You may hate me but–” Grumbling to herself, she aggressively killed the music and switched off the ignition. Thank God, she thought. I don’t want to hear that song again for a thousand years.
The four-year-old in the backseat had other ideas. Before her mother had even reached for her keys, little Simone had scampered out of the car and skipped halfway up the driveway, singing in a high-pitched voice the next lines: “I don’t really want to make it tough, I just wanna tell you that I’ve had enough–“
“Simone!” Fabiana snapped. Instantly the little girl dropped her head and stopped singing. She had been disciplined enough to recognize when her mother was on the verge of an outburst. It was too late, though: Fabiana’s mother had heard their arrival and emerged from her friendly Bay Ridge home to welcome her granddaughter with a smile and a big hug–plus a plateful of homemade chocolate chip cookies. Fabiana felt both annoyance and relief. Leave it to Grandma to save the day.
“Look at you!” Maggie hoisted the little girl up in her arms, being careful not to crinkle the purple lacy dress that Simone herself had so proudly picked out that morning. “All dressed up today! What’s the occasion?”
“I’m hungry,” Simone declared unabashedly. Maggie laughed. Fabiana, holding a large stack of papers under one arm and a bag of toys in the other, started to scold her daughter. “Simone, what did I tell you–“
“No, hon, it’s alright.” Maggie interrupted gently. She looked down at Simone, propped on her hip, and pretended to pout. “Did your mom send you to bed without supper again? Come in, I’ll make you a PB&J.” She set the child down on the ground and led her by the hand up the stone steps into the house, Fabiana reluctantly following.