No Boys Allowed
By Audrey W.
Roy DeSoto peeked around the newspaper and glanced at the small figure walking towards him. The paramedic was relaxing in a recliner in the livingroom, after having had a slow and long shift at work the night before. The benefit of the non-eventful duty was that the crew of Station 51’s A-shift was able to get a solid night of sleep, thus not losing time on a day off to a nap.
“Whataya’ got there?” Roy asked his seven-year-old daughter, looking at the piece of construction paper in her hand.
“Just a sign. Could I have some tape to put it up?”
The father set the paper aside on the floor and leaned forward. “That depends. . . on what it says.”
Jennifer shrugged. “Just stuff.”
“Like. . .?”
She sighed, realizing her dad wasn’t going to help her out until he knew what she had written. “I have a club. It’s in my room.” The little blonde girl held up the paper.
Roy took the sign and looked it over, reading the hand printed words with flowers drawn near them.
Girls club. Boys done’t come in!
Hiding a smile to look serious so that his daughter would know he understood the importance of her idea, the father watched and listened to Jennifer’s reactions as he discussed the subject with her.
“So, you aren’t going to let your brother in the club?”
“Nope. Just girls.”
“Who’s in the club so far?”
Jennifer blushed and averted her eyes. “Me. . .and Mommy will be in it.”
“What about me?”
The little girl giggled, returning her gaze to her father. “Don’t be silly, Daddy. You’re a boy! You can’t be in it.”
Roy pretended to pout. “You sure?”
“Uh huh. But don’t worry. Maybe Chris’ll have a boys’ club for you.”
“Yeah, maybe.” He studied Jennifer a moment. “How long do you think you’ll have this club?”
“Oh, until I’m twenty.”
“You’re gonna have a girls’ club in your room until you’re twenty?”
“Yeah,” Jennifer nodded, a sincere expression on her face.
“Then what happens when you’re twenty?”
“I start a new club,” she answered matter of fact.
“And that would be. . .?”
The girl shook her head in exasperation. The answers seemed so obvious to her, she wondered why her father needed so many explanations. “A college club, Daddy.”
“Oh. . .I see. And what’s a college club?”
“You know. . .boys and girls.”
Roy grinned slightly. His daughter had apparently meant a coed club. “How long will you have that one?”
“Till I’m thirty.”
“Thirty? What happens at thirty?”
“I’m gonna have nothin’ else but a life.”
“I see,” Roy said sitting back in the chair. “So I’m going to have to wait until you’re twenty to go in your room?”
“Uh huh,” Jennifer said, smiling. She felt like she had finally gotten the idea across to her dad. “So can I have some tape now?”
“Sure. But I think I’m gonna miss a few things while you have your girls’ club.”
The girl furrowed her brow. “Like what, Daddy?”
“Oh, things like bedtime stories, bringing you a drink of water in the night . . .”
Jennifer gave his answers some thought. “I guess I forgot.”
Roy nodded. “I’ll miss coming in with your mom when you’ve had a bad dream and you’re scared. Or when the electricity goes out in a storm and you’re afraid of the dark.” He could see his daughter’s expression change as the different things were mentioned. “’Course, we’re only looking at thirteen more years before we can do all this again.”
“Thirteen years? That’s too long.” Jennifer took the paper sign from her dad and balled it up, tossing it on the coffee table. “I don't wanta dumb 'ol club anyway." A hopeful expression on her face, she asked, "Will you come color with me?”
The paramedic smiled wide, taking his daughter’s hand as he got to his feet. “That sounds like fun to me. Lead the way.”
The little blonde girl looked up at her father’s face and grinned, her two missing upper front teeth creating a priceless image Roy would treasure forever. The two walked into the kitchen, each taking a chair at the table. The father and daughter enjoyed the afternoon doing what was important. Spending some time together, sharing the simple pleasures of life.
This story is dedicated to parents and children. After watching on the news of yet another child being taken, only to be found murdered later. . .and parents starting to take tracking devices or surveillance toy bears into consideration to try to keep their kids safe, these simple conversations with kids only come to mean that much more to me. This was a conversation I had with my daughter today (although I'm in her *club*). . .gotta love the innocence of a child! :o)