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Consoling Tracy

It’s Parents Night Out (aka Parents Next Morning Sucks).

Daddy arrives at the playground to pick the twins up for a quick jaunt home to eat a vegetable before returning. A precocious classmate named Tracy comes over to Daddy and Fisher.

T (smiling big): Hi, Fisher!
F: Hi, Tracy.
T (to Daddy): Is Fisher going home?
D: Yes, but only for a few minutes. He’ll be back for Parents Night Out. Are you coming to Parents Night Out?
A switch suddenly flips, taking her from smiling to crying…and crying big.
T: No! I don’t ever get to go to Parents Night Out! (Sobs.) My mommy and daddy don’t ever let me go!
D (startled): I’m sorry, Tracy. I’m sure some time…
T: I don’t get to go Parents Night Out ever! It’s not fair.

Daddy looks around for Tracy’s mom or some other escape hatch.

D (looking back down): You know, I…
F (standing at Tracy’s side, lightly touching her back): Don’t cry, Tracy. Don’t cry. It’s okay. It’ll be okay.
T: But, I want to go, Fisher!
F (continued patting, lilting voice): But, it’s okay if you don’t go to Parents Night Out tonight because not everyone has to go to Parents Night Out. You could have fun anyway. And, you know I’ll bring you a dessert. I’ll just bring you a dessert from Parents Night Out. (She’s quieting down.) My papa makes very good cookies. They have chocolate chips in them…(patting away)…and you will really like them. They are even better than desserts at a Parents Night Out. You won’t miss something by not going.

Two feet above their heads, Daddy is smiling down at them. Tracy’s teary eyes are fixed on Fisher. She drops her shoulders, turns, throws her arms around Fisher, and lays her head down on his shoulder. He just stands there, arms at his side, fully (and a little awkwardly) hugged.

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