“I think mom is a witch.”
Ted smiled. “What did you do this time?”
“No, dad, I’m serious. Either that or she’s some sort of psychic with special gifts.”
Ted paused, his spoon midway between the cereal bowl and his mouth. He eyed his daughter thoughtfully and saw that she really was serious about this one. Through the years he and his wife had wondered about Melody, how she always cried, thinking that other kids were making fun of her -- which was probably true -- and always concerned that so-and-so had held a grudge over something done days, if not months ago. Often as parents, he and his wife Sherri would look at each other, that knowing look in their eyes, and shake their heads. Their daughter was probably just too sensitive and hopefully would snap out of it by the time she reached the teenage years. But now this?
He returned the spoon to the bowl and leaned back in the chair. “What do you mean?”
Melody shrugged. “I don’t know. You’ll probably think I’m just being weird as always.”
“Honey, I don’t think you’re weird.”
“It just…” Melody stared up at the ceiling. Like she was trying to find the right words, Ted thought. “Well, it’s like the other day. I walked into your bedroom, and the next thing I know, there’s this clash of the hair dryer in the sink and mom’s yelling at me, saying how I scared her and why didn’t I knock.”
“Well, you can’t fault her for getting angry, honey. You know the rules.”
“I know, and I apologized, but…” There was the look again, Ted noted, not directly at him but away. “But before it crashed into the sink? I saw the hair dryer hovering in mid-air.”
Ted wrinkled his brow. “Honey, you couldn’t have seen something like that.”
“Dad, I swear to you, I’m not making this up. I saw the --”
He cut her off with a wave of his hand.
“Melody, I’m not saying that I don’t believe you. I believe you think you saw something. But, listen to yourself for a moment. Things like hair dryers don’t float in the air.”
Melody’s shoulders dropped. “See, I knew you’d think I was crazy.”
Ted touched her arm. “I don’t think that at all. If anything, I think you’re tired. Your mother and I have noticed how little you sleep lately. Is there a problem at school?”
She didn’t say anything.
Ted pressed the issue. “Has Bobby broken up with you again?”
Tears filled her eyes. “He won’t even look at me anymore. He says I’m suffocating him, but I know what it really is. He thinks I’m weird.”
Ted nodded, his heart feeling heavy. He wished he could make it all go away, but some lessons in life needed to be learned by experience. Boys like Bobby would never understand his little girl.
“It’ll be okay,” he said. “Bobby’s a loser, and he doesn’t deserve you.” He reached over and squeezed her hand. “I tell you what. How about after school you and I go down to the Dairy Queen and grab a couple of Blizzards.”
Melody reached up and brushed a tear from her cheek. “Can we?”
“You bet.” Ted smiled. “And I’ll tell you something more. You’re a special girl, and don’t you ever think differently.”
She smiled. “Thanks, dad.”
He looked at his watch and nodded toward the door. “Looks like we need to get you off to school. Give me a minute to get my keys, okay?”
She stood. “Nah, I’ll walk today.”
“Okay,” he said and smiled as she grabbed her backpack and stepped over toward the door.
She stopped, one hand on the knob, and said over her shoulder, “Don’t tell mom about the hair dryer thing, okay? I don’t want her going all motherly on me.”
Ted crossed his fingers. “Our secret.”
She giggled. "Good talk, dad."
And with that, she was gone.
A moment later, Sherri walked into the kitchen. “Hey, honey.”
“We need to talk,” he said.
She stepped over to the refrigerator, said “Sure thing” and opened the door.
With a wave of his hand, the door snapped closed.
Sherri blinked at him.
“We need to talk now.” His tone more firm this time.
“What’s this about?”
“About you and a hair dryer and our daughter.”
She looked toward the door and closed her eyes. An embarrassed smile crossed her lips, and Sherri shook her head. “I was afraid of that. I tried to cover it up, but I could see it in her eyes.”
He nodded. “It was going to happen sooner or later.” With a snap of his fingers, a chair slid out from the table. “I think it’s time to tell her everything.”
Sherri walked over and sat down. “Are you sure?”
“Not really, but we can’t continue to hide the truth from our daughter. Eventually, she’ll connect the dots, and I would rather we tell her than for her to hear it from someone else. Besides, she’s starting to think she’s the weird one, and I don’t want her self-image to fall off the charts.”
She took a deep breath. “You’re probably right. But do we have to tell her about everyone in the family?”
Ted smiled and gave her a wink. “No, some warlocks are better left in the closet.”