by Hugh Wesley
A quick break can change everything.
|“May I speak to Mrs. Larson, please?”
Gabby twirled the phone cord around a dainty finger.
“Mommy told me not to talk to strangers.”
“Oh, right, of course. My name is Mr. Peters. I’m with National Insurance, and I have a special offer for your mommy. Is she there?”
Gabby danced her doll on the wooden desktop and sang a little ditty.
“Um, excuse me?” Mr. Peters said after a few seconds. “Is your mommy there?”
“Mommy has a headache,” Gabby said and started singing again.
“Well, this won’t take very long,” Peters said. “May I speak to your mommy, little girl?”
Gabby stopped playing with her doll and frowned, thinking. She looked down the hallway toward her mother’s bedroom.
The brick was still there on the carpet.
“Mommy didn’t want me to play with my doll,” Gabby told Peters.
“Um, oh, OK.” The salesman didn’t know how to respond, so he doubled down. “If I can just speak to your mother for a moment …”
“I think she’s asleep,” Gabby cut him off.
She was still staring toward the bedroom and could just make out a few strands of her mother’s golden hair splashed out across the threshold into the hallway.
The woman groaned.
“Um, is everything OK?” Peters sounded concerned.
“My mommy has a headache,” Gabby repeated.
The groaning grew louder.
Gabby sighed and plucked her doll from the desk, then padded down the hallway. She had to pick up the brick before Mommy got up.
“Little girl!” the man on the phone called from the other room.
Gabby wondered if Mommy would let her play with the doll now.