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March Writing Challenge – Red Glitter Devil: Vignette 3

March 22, 2022

This month’s prompt is “He was sure the Devil created red sparkly glitter”. I had some inspiration and have created a series of vignettes related to the prompt. You can find the first in this post and the second in this post. Keep scrolling to find the third. Enjoy!

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Her nails glared at me with their red glittery polish. The edges clicked against the table one after another starting with her thumb. Once she got to the pinkie, she’d start all over again. Sammie’s teacher was saying something, but the clicking was driving me crazy. I shifted in my puffy jacket and glared up at Candice. She threw me a smirk and kept clicking.

Sammie’s teacher cleared her throat. “Like I was saying, Sammie and Vanessa had a little tussle today over our craft supplies. Sammie ended up with glue in her hair and Vanessa has gold paint all over her jumper. Neither of the girls were hurt, but it’s the first time I’ve seen them fight. Do either of you have any insight into what might be going on?”

She looked back and forth between us, and Candice jumped in as soon as she made eye contact. “Well it was Vanessa’s birthday last week and we had a Halloween themed party. Sammie came dressed up as the Devil.” She cringed and shrugged her shoulders like she was trying to communicate to Sammie’s teacher all my failings as a parent in one set of bodily movements. “Maybe the girls were fighting over things they could make costumes out of.”

The teacher raised her eyebrows, “Why would that have been such a big deal?”

They both looked at me. “Well, um. I don’t really know.”

“Well sure you do Nate,” Candice huffed. “You made that red glittery Devil costume for Sammie and she bragged about it to all the kids at the party. Of course they would want to make costumes after that.”

I glared at her. “Could I speak to you privately?” I asked Candice and then turned to Sammie’s teacher. “Would you watch the girls for just a minute?” I didn’t give either of them a chance to respond, just pushed my chair back and headed into the hallway.

My back was to the classroom door and I took a deep breath before whirling to face Candice. She was leaning against the wall with her arms crossed over her chest. She had her lawyer face on. It matched the stiffness and pointed edges of the stilettos peeking from under her navy pant suit.

“How are you mad at me for this?” I tried to keep my voice steady but I could hear the exasperation. Candice didn’t respond, but her cheeks relaxed and she looked at the floor instead of at me. Her arms slipped down to hug her middle. She looked like a balloon that was slowly deflating.

“You aren’t actually mad at me.” I said each word slowly, giving her time to react in case I was wrong. I took a step toward her and she looked up at me. “I don’t know what’s going on with you Candice, but you’re not actually mad at me. I gotta tell you though, I’m really tired of dealing with this hot/cold, you’re a good dad/bad dad bullshit. I wish you’d just make up your mind and stick to it, because I’m really tired of figuring out what kind of day it’s going to be every time I see you.”

We stared at each other for a few moments, but she didn’t say anything. Her eyes looked red and wet, like she was going to cry. I heaved a sigh. “If you need to talk, you have my number.” It was all I had the emotional capacity to say at the moment. I scooted past her into the classroom.

“Come on Sammie,” I called to the corner where the girls were playing. To the teacher I said, “I’m sorry you had to deal with this today. I appreciate you recognizing when Sammie doesn’t seem to be herself. I’ll talk to her at home, and hopefully there won’t be any more craft catastrophes.”

I shook the teacher’s hand before scooping Sammie into my arms. She wrapped her legs around my middle and threw her arms around my neck, laying her head on my shoulder. “Daddy, I’m sorry I messed up and you got called away from your job,” she whispered toward my ear.

“It’s okay baby as long as we learn from our mistakes, right?” I contorted my head to look at her. She gave me a weak nod.

Candice was still in the hallway leaning against the wall as Sammie and I came out of the classroom. She quickly swiped at her eyes and gave me a soft smile. I nodded and turned down the hall toward the parking lot.

Back at home I bribed Sammie into the shower with promises of grilled cheese for dinner. I checked messages while she got the water started and hopped in. I sat on the other side of the curtain googling how to get glue out of her hair once she’d gotten settled. Thank goodness they only used water soluble Elmers glue at school. “Make sure to put lots of conditioner on it and then leave it.” I waited for confirmation. “Did you hear me Sammie? You’ve got to leave it in for at least a couple minutes.”

“What about the rest of it Daddy?” her innocent voice sang into the steam.

I slipped my phone back into a pocket and ran my hands through my hair. “What do you mean the rest of it?”

Sammie slid a red glittery arm outside the curtain and folded her fingers into claws. It was followed by a shrill “rawr” that reverberated through the bathroom, and then Sammie’s grinning face peered around the side of the curtain.

I laughed and said, “I’m not sure there’s enough room in this house for both of us, and the Devil, and… what’s this?” I moved my hand in a circle to encompass her arm. “It’s a dragon Daddy. Duh!”

“Of course. Sorry. I’m just not used to there being red glittery Devil dragons in my shower with glue in their hair. Is that the costume you were trying to make at school? A dragon?” I asked.

“Yeah,” she said.

“Do you want to tell me what happened at school with Vanessa?”

“Okay.” Sammie took a deep breath before the words poured out of her. “Vanessa and I found where Ms. Tucker hides the glitter. And then we found the paint. I had the idea, but Vanessa wanted to be the dragon. I told her that the red glitter was mine because I had done it with my devil costume and knew how it worked. I told her she could be the gold that the dragon protects. She agreed, but then when we started to actually make the costumes she got mad at me and put glue in my hair, so I put the paint on her. Ms. Tucker came over really quickly and stopped us. Vanessa cried when Ms. Tucker told us she was gonna have to call you and Vanessa’s mommy. I hugged her to stop crying, but she pushed me away. I didn’t like it.”

I considered what she said.

“Daddy, why did Vanessa push me away?”

“Well. Sometimes when you do something hurtful, like not sharing, it takes a while for someone to stop being mad. I think Vanessa was probably still mad about not getting to be a dragon and didn’t want a hug right then.” My phone buzzed in my pocket and I set it to silent without looking. “But that’s the thing about being friends. Lots of times if you talk about what happened and apologize, that’s enough for the person to forgive you. Then Vanessa will probably let you hug her again.” I hoped that was the case anyway.

“Do you really think she’ll forgive me?”

“I think you’ll never know unless you try.” I said.

After grilled cheese sandwiches I set up Sammie at her craft table to color and sank onto the couch. I pulled my phone out to see if I’d had any missed calls from work. I didn’t, but I did have a text message.

Candice: I’m sorry. You’re right it has nothing to do with you and I’ve been a total shit.

I tapped the respond button.

Nate: Apology accepted.

Nate: Whenever I get upset I passive-aggressively send glitter bombs to people. It always makes me feel better 😉

Candice: *wince I deserved that.

Nate: But more seriously, how the hell do you remove glue from the head of a 6 yr old?

Nate: The internet failed me tonight. Please don’t say to cut it off. I don’t think any amount of red sparkly glitter will make that okay.


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