“Aimee, honey, you know things do not make the person,” her mother scolded gently, her slim hands, resting on both of Aimee’s shoulders.
“I know, Mama. I know,” Aimee sighed, looking down so her mother would not see the tears in her eyes. “But I am tired of Chantel always being the first to have everything,” she mumbled.
“Look at me, Aimee,” her mother said, her tone still gentle but firm. Aimee knew better than to disobey.
Looking up into the dark brown eyes of her mother, Aimee note in surprise that her mother had a few grey hairs at her temple. “Have I caused them?” she wondered, recalling her grandmother’s comment to her mother, after Aimee had asked a series of “But why?” questions, “My grandbaby will turn your hair gray as you did mine.”
Cupping Aimee’s face in her hands, her mother said, “Your father and I understand, Baby, but we will not buy you a cell phone, and an iphone to boot, just because Chantel’s parents bought one for her.”
“But, Mama,” Aimee whined, unwilling to give up too quickly. She thought, “I still have the money from my 12th birthday last week. Perhaps if I remind Mama, she will …”
Her mother’s stern, “Do not ‘But, Mama,’ me, Aimee Grace,” interrupted her thoughts and Aimee’s heart sank, knowing she had crossed the line.
“Sorry, Mama,” Aimee whispered.
“Get ready for bed and I will come into to pray with you.”
“Yes, ma’am,” Aimee replied and turned away, her head and shoulders down, her steps slow but not dragging, wanting to spare herself another lecture.
A few minutes later, dressed in white cotton pajamas, Aimee dragged into her bathroom which her parents had painted yellow and white for her 11th birthday, still feeling sorry for herself. Aimee did not pay any attention to the shower curtain with the big sunflowers, or the matching floor rugs. Looking into the mirror but not really seeing her eyes that looked so much like her Mama’s or the cheek bones that everyone said, marked her as her Daddy’s daughter, Aimee began brushing her teeth.
Her thoughts returned to Chantel. “Mama, just doesn’t understand what a show-off Chantel is.” She had felt so jealous that morning when Chantel pulled out her phone at the bus stop. Everyone had crowed around her, oohing and aahing, and saying things like, “You’re so lucky, Chantel. I wish I had an iphone.” Then, to make matters worse, when Aimee had asked to see it, Chantel had said, “No!” and returned the phone to her purse.
Aimee knew Mama would talk to her again about being thankful and also tell Daddy what had happened, when he called that night. How she wished her Daddy was home. He would tell her the same things Mama had said but he would also enfold her in a hug and whisper, “Do you know you are an apple, Baby girl?” To which, Aimee always giggled in response, “Yes, Daddy. I am the Apple of your eye.”
Suddenly, the serious face of Chantel’s father came to mind. Aimee had never seen him smile, not once. Aimee looked at herself in the mirror, grinned, and then crowed, “I know her serious faced daddy does not hug her and say nice things to her like my Daddy says to me.” She finished preparing for bed, her dejection a thing of the past.