Pippa’s pre-school class was teeming with excitement as the fathers of all the children started filing into the room. All of the kids were so happy and hugging their fathers. And then there was Pippa. She was sitting alone in a corner of the classroom watching it all happen. It was awful having to see everyone else be happy while knowing her own dad wasn’t going to be there. It just wasn’t fair. What had she done to deserve such torture? With a stifled little cry, Pippa stood up and ran out of the room as fast as she could and into the bathroom.
Once there, her emotions took over and a sink exploded unexpectedly. She gasped in surprise. It was the first time she had ever seen the existence of her own magic and she had to admit, it was rather amazing. For a moment she just stood watching the water sprout from the broken pipes. It hit the tiled floor with loud splashes that got her light blue dress wet but she didn’t care. She was mesmerized but what she had done.
A sudden knock on the bathroom door made Pippa jump in surprise. A second later, her teacher was poking her head through the door. The woman took in the scene with wide eyes and looked down at little Pippa who was looking back up at her. “Um…Miss Sloper, someone is here to see you,” the teacher said with a timid sounding voice.
Pippa’s eyes widened to almost twice their size. Someone was there to see her…someone that could very well be her father! Without wasting another moment on her thoughts, she pushed past her teacher and into the hall. But the person standing before her wasn’t her dad. It was Lucy.
“Mummy?” she asked. “I thought -“ She cut herself off abruptly. She didn’t much feel like admitting that she thought that Charlie was going to come; it would probably only make her cry in the end.
Lucy crouched down in front of Pippa and opened up her arms for the little girl to run into them. She did and Lucy held her tightly. “Oh, baby,” she said softly. She kissed Pippa’s forehead gently. “Is it okay that I’m here, even though I’m not a dad? Do you think I can stay with you?”
Pippa nodded her head in response. They stood like that in silence for a moment before Pippa spoke again. “I wish Daddy could have come,” she whispered.
“I know,” Lucy said softly. “But Daddy needs to work so we can have all the nice things we do. Does that make sense?”
“I understand. But am I still allowed to be sad?” she asked.
Lucy laughed. It was sort of sad sounding and she could practically feel her heart breaking into a million pieces in her chest. “Of course you are, sweetie,” she said and lifted Pippa off the ground. “I love you, Pippa.”
“I love you, too, Mummy,” she said. And then, almost as a quiet afterthought, she added, “You’re my very best friend in the entire world.”
Lucy smiled and gave Pippa a big kiss on the cheek. “You’re my best friend in the entire world, too. Forever and ever, my love.”
The two of them walked back down the hall to Pippa’s classroom with her teacher following closely behind them. All three were silent.
Pippa was thinking mostly about how she wished Charlie was there so she could show him what her magic had done. It was so powerful for such a small person. At least that’s what she thought. But if Charlie had been there, then the explosion wouldn’t have happened in the first place. She would just have to tell him about it when he got home for dinner that night.
They were standing at the door and Lucy paused before opening it. “Are you okay to go in?” she asked.
Pippa nodded. “Let me down, please.”
Lucy placed Pippa safely on the floor and then opened the door for her. It took less than five seconds for Pippa’s brown eyes to find the one pair that matched her own perfectly. Sitting at the tiny desk with her carefully printed nametag taped on top of it was Charlie. He looked a thousand times too big for it.
“Daddy?” Pippa’s voice was quiet and in awe. Tears sprang to her eyes and she looked up at Lucy in confusion. Lucy just winked at her and nudged her a little farther into the room. She took a small step forward and as she did, Charlie stood up from his spot. “Daddy!” Her voice was louder now, more sure of herself and the situation. She ran across the room as fast as she could, dodging toys and desks along the way until she reached Charlie. He lifted her off the floor easily and held her.
“Hi, Pip,” he said, softly. He kissed her forehead. “Are you surprised?”
Tears were falling uncontrollably down Pippa’s cheeks now. She was just so happy and surprised and nothing had ever felt this wonderful in her life. “You came!” she said. “You came here for me. Thank you! I love you.”
The entire class was watching them now, all of them completely silent. It took Pippa a minute to realize why all of her classmates looked so surprised. And then she remembered that it was because they all thought he was dead. She bit her lip and looked towards the door for Lucy’s help but her mother wasn’t there anymore. “Where did Mummy go?” she asked Charlie.
Charlie ran a hand through her hair and smiled. “Today’s just for us. Mummy went home. Is that okay with you, honey?” he asked and Pippa nodded her approval of the situation. Charlie took one look around the room at all the children and their fathers and then back at Pippa. “What do you say we get out of here?”
“Yes, please!” Pippa said and giggled. She rested her head against Charlie’s shoulder but then suddenly pulled back again. Her face was overly excited. She could show him the bathroom! “Daddy, will you take me to the bathroom before we go?”
Charlie nodded. He kept a hold on her with one arm and grabbed her backpack with the other. “Pippa’s excused from class today,” he announced.
No one protested, not even Pippa’s teacher. They all just watched the two of them walk out of the room. Once they were in the hallway, Pippa directed Charlie to the bathroom. He put her on the ground in front of the door. When she didn’t go in, he gave her a weird look.
“What are you waiting for?” he asked.
“You have to come in with me,” Pippa said.
Charlie pursed his lips. It was such a Lucy-like thing to tell him she needed him in the bathroom with her. The two of them were rather depended on him, not that he really minded. He enjoyed being needed so much. “Pippa. You can go to the bathroom by yourself like a big girl. You’re four and a half now, you don’t need me to go with you.”
Pippa laughed and shook her head. “No, I have to show you something in the bathroom!” she said. Charlie clearly wasn’t understanding and his face looked almost a little disgusted. Pippa laughed again and pulled him into the bathroom. The water had started to flood the entire floor and was still spurting wildly from the exploded sink. She looked up at Charlie to see his reaction but it seemed like he still didn’t know why she’d brought him in to look at the broken sing. “My magic did that! I got so upset that you weren’t coming and I ran in here and a sink exploded from all my emotions! I have magic, Daddy!” Every word she spoke was louder and more excited than the last. It was clear that she was extremely proud of herself.
Charlie looked between Pippa and the sink in surprise and was also overcome by a sense of pride. His little daughter had accidentally blown up a sink. It was magnificent, really. He laughed and picked her up off the wet floor. “Well well, Pippa Sloper,” he said. “You are your father’s child.”
Pippa smiled and kissed his cheek. She loved when he made comparisons of their similarities. It made her feel special and wonderful.
They left the flooded bathroom to walk down the hall, down a set out of stairs, and out the front door. It was warm outside and the sun was shining brightly.
“Where are we going?” Pippa asked.
Charlie hiked her up a little farther in his arms before answering. “Well,” he started. “You see that mini baseball stadium across the street from here?” he asked. Pippa nodded so he continued. “I was thinking that maybe we could go over there and eat hot dogs or something. And then we’ll go shopping for a new doll to have tea parties with. Sound good?”
Pippa’s eyes lit up in excitement and she nodded her head. All of that sounded so wonderful. She had never skipped school with Charlie before to do fun things like eat hotdogs and go doll shopping. This was easily going to be the best day of her four and a half year old life. She reached into her backpack to pull out pink, heart-shaped sunglasses and put them on. They took up more than half of her tiny face. “Alright, I’m ready for our Sloper Day of Fun!” she said.
Charlie smiled and kissed the small amount of her cheek not covered by the pink plastic. “Then off we go,” he said. He placed her back down on the ground but took her small hand in his and they walked, hand-in-hand, to enjoy their Sloper Day of Fun.