Instead of piano, my daughter takes lip-reading lessons. She says that way she’ll know what the other kids are whispering about her.
“That’s stupid,” her brother says. “They can just cover up their mouth with a book or their hand or something.”
My daughter screams, overturns her dinner plate, and runs off.
“It’s okay,” my son says, “she never eats anyway.”
A month later, my daughter looks happy, determined. She’s seated in a chair on the opposite side of the room with me on the couch.
“Just say what you’d normally say, except don’t speak out loud.”
I cock my head, imitating, Sherman Alexie, our often befuddled Labrador.
“Just mouth the words.”
I mouth, This is really weird.
She tells me to do it slower.
I mouth, I wish your mother was here.
She crinkles her head and tells me she’s not anorexic, even though that’s not what I said, even though we both know that’s a lie.
I mouth, Your mother fell in love with my best friend, but at least she left me with you two.
My daughter says, “Not so many words at once.”
I mouth, It’s not even funny how much I love you.
She says, “I know just the trick,” goes to the kitchen and returns with Pepto-Bismol. “This should help your stomach ache.”
I mouth, It’s not my stomach, it’s my heart.
She breaks out laughing, busting a gut. She says, “Sometimes you really crack me up.”