“Can I help you catch him?”
“Please, daddy. I’m scared he’ll get run over by a car.”
“But, sweetie, he can’t…” I broke off, captivated by the welling tears in her eyes. It didn’t matter that Mister Sparkles wasn’t, to be accurate, real, and couldn’t actually get run over by a car or eaten by a dog or hurt in anyway, not to Gracie. “He can’t get hurt – I’ll catch him.”
“We’ll catch him!”
Turns out that Mister Sparkles was a devil to catch. He wasn’t in the front yard. Nor was he in the back, either under the picnic table or in the sandbox. He wasn’t in the kitchen cupboards or in the dishwasher, he wasn’t in the couch cushions or behind the TV. The way Gracie was giggling at me every time I looked somewhere, I knew that her tears from earlier wouldn’t come back, which was like ninety percent of what I was trying to accomplish.
We looked in her bed, in her closet. Behind the shower curtain and under the towels. Finally, as the clock ticked its way toward when I’d need to start dinner, I knelt down in front of Gracie and said, “You know, I’m beginning to think he’s hidden in an extra-special place.”
“Is he in your ear?” Giggles. “Your mouth?” Giggles and snorts. “Your tummy?”
“Da-addy! I didn’t eat him!” She laughed at my foolishness, then held her hand out to me, seriously. “He was in my pocket all along!”