This afternoon, 4 o’clock. Our kitchen. Outside, raining. Inside, Lydia and I, the afterschool chat.
Lydia: Mrs. M. is giving up coffee. (Mrs. M. is a teacher.)
Jane: Really??? (voice rising, incredulous) Why?
Lydia: Yeah. Because it’s bad for you.
Jane: No, it’s not.
Lydia: IT’S ADDICTING.
Jane: Right. But it’s not bad for you.
Lydia: Mom, it’s addicting.
Jane: Lydia, I couldn’t get through my life if I couldn’t drink coffee.
Lydia giggles. It opens up into laughter. I’ve surprised her! This is a wonderful thing, when serious Lydia laughs. Her voice is a bell, a pretty one.
Lydia: Do you hear what you’re saying?
Lydia: I’m not going to drink coffee until I’ve reached my full height and stopped growing.
Jane: Really? Okay, let’s have this conversation again when you’re sixteen.
Which is when I started depending on, er, I mean, drinking it.
(But I didn’t have any this afternoon. I didn’t.)