His Virgin Babysitter(3)By: Lila Younger
“Do you mind if I ask what’s going on?” I venture. “A bed I can understand, but no clothes? Did she not have any when she came to you?”
“To be honest, I didn’t think I would be raising her at all,” he says. “But now I have to. I only just met Luna a few months ago, to be honest. Her mother hadn’t bothered to let me know that I had a kid. So it’s newfound territory for me too. I appreciate you coming to help out.”
“Sure, of course,” I say. “What happened to her mother?”
“I don’t know,” Mr. Sedgwick replies wearily. “That’s what I’m trying to find out myself. As far as I know, Stacie doesn’t have a family. At least not one she’s kept in contact with. I think her mother lives in New Jersey, but I could be wrong. I don’t know anything else about the situation, except that I couldn’t let Luna into the system when I’m her father. So here we are.”
Wow, I think. That’s amazing. Who could leave their kid behind like that? I’m glad that Mr. Sedgwick at least is a responsible parent and that Luna doesn’t seem to be hurting from her mother leaving her behind.
Just then Luna opens the door. She’s put a sequined pink tank top and a green t-shirt on top of one another, a frilly white skirt, and a pair of blue leopard print leggings. She holds up her hands.
“Ta-da! I told you I can dress,” she says proudly.
“You look great,” Mr. Sedgwick says.
“Absolutely beautiful,” I add. “Do you like it?”
“Yes. I have more.”
Luna turns around and heads back, slamming the changing door behind her. I look at Mr. Sedgwick, and we both break out in grins.
“It’s certainly efficient,” he says. “Although I hope she doesn’t really want to wear all of that at once.”
“She might,” I say seriously. “I remember one year when all my little sister would wear were red cowboy boots. Little kids have strange tastes in clothes. There’s nobody to tell them ‘you can’t do that’.”
“It must be nice,” Mr. Sedgwick says, his blue eyes twinkling.
“Yeah,” I agree with softly.
Gone are the days when I could do whatever I wanted, that’s for sure. For as long as I could remember, I had to be the responsible one, as the oldest. I was praised as smart, responsible, level-headed. I was treated as an adult before I was ready to grow up. So of course when I messed up, it came as such a shock to my parents. And now that I’ve taken a detour on my life, I don’t know what to do at all. Go back to the way things were? I’ve always felt a sense of dissatisfaction with my life. A sort of uneasy feeling that maybe I was making a big mistake. Why, I never knew. But maybe it was because what I planned to do with my life had nothing to do with what I wanted, and everything to do with what was expected out of me from others.
If only I could get some kind of sign telling me what to do, I think wistfully.
“Help,” Luna calls out, breaking into my thoughts.
“What is it?” Mr. Sedgwick calls back.
“My dress,” she replies.
We look at each other, then I knock and open the door. She’s back in her Belle dress. The clothes in a crumpled heap on the floor.
“Do you want me to zip you up?” I ask.
“Yes please,” Luna says, turning around. I zip the dress back up for her, and she gives me a smile.
“I like you,” she says simply.
The words warm my heart. I’ve always had a soft spot for kids, and Luna is no exception. She’s cute as a button, and her story is so sad. I wish there was something more I could do for her, but all I can give is a hug. The rest of the grocery trip is easy. Since Luna isn’t a baby, there actually isn’t too much left we needed to buy. Just some underwear, a couple more clothes now that we know her size, kid shampoo, and a few toys to entertain her. He already has a booster, so that big purchase is taken care of. Our little shopping trip was coming to an end, and I’m surprised to find I’m a little sad about that.
“Thanks for all of your help,” Mr. Sedgwick says as he wheels the cart towards the checkout line.
“Don’t worry about it at all. I wasn’t doing anything anyways. I actually came here hoping to get a job,” I say.