Where is she now, the girl spontaneously born when my sisters told me there was this little girl they knew and they wanted me to help them pick out her Christmas present? One sister asked the question, the other elaborated. She’s someone I know from the hospital. We want to get her just the right present. Who was this person they suddenly cared so much about? How was it that I had never met this girl? Did she go to my school? In the tight aisles of Waldenbooks at Cherry Hill mall, it was not hard to give them some pointers on what this exemplary 3rd grader might like. Why was she at the hospital? Was she volunteering to read to sick people? Making them cookies? I guess she’d like this, I told them, holding out a small square Peanuts Cookbook. Lime green with pink pages.
I looked over the recipes this other girl would get to make, thinking, what if, in my life, I could hang out with my sisters and make divinity? This seemed like a maximal experience that, once lived, would invest the baker with a kind of authority, that no matter what she touched after that, it would bear the trace of that peaked white sweet supernatural substance just denser than air.
I’m not sure where this girl went when I unwrapped the small square package on Christmas Eve. It wasn’t the last of her though.