In the past, I’ve read this in public. I don’t any more. Too many people were coming up to me saying, “That’s so cute. It’s so sweet!” I’m not sure what these folks were hearing. To me, this is neither cute nor sweet. Never has been. I was going for dark. Can’t win ’em all.
The father says, “Come into the kitchen, so I can wipe your face off.” His small daughter prances in, chocolate pudding smeared around her mouth. Obediently, she looks up. The father rubs her face with a damp paper towel. “Your face doesn’t seem to be coming off, dear,” he says and rubs more firmly.
“Daddy,” the little girl protests, “I don’t want my face wiped off.”
“You’ve been wearing that face all day,” the father says. “It’s time you changed it. We can’t have such messes when Mother gets home.”
“But I haven’t got another clean one,” the girl whimpers, tears in her eyes.
“There, there,” the father sighs. “Let me wash your face. You can borrow mine.”
“It’s too big,” the daughter argues. “It’ll look funny.” She giggles.
“Only until yours dries, darling,” the father says, fastening his face loosely over her ears. The girl pushes it onto her head like a hat.
“I’m going to my room,” she says with a suddenly mature look. “I have something on my mind.”