I see it happen. That little piece, breaking off from the magic of childhood, crushed by the truth he's sure he has witnessed. The end of the believing. Fairies aren't real. I have failed him.
There's worry etched across his face, like maybe he's in the wrong, like maybe I was right and by not brushing she overlooked the newest falling out. "Dare wasn't any money under my piwlow."
And I take it like a punch to the gut.
"Did she fowget me?"
"Maybe she's just late...or maybe you didn't look hard enough..." I am discretely moving into the bedroom where I palm a coin off the dresser while he follows me like a sad shadow.
"But I wooked evwywhere!"
"Do you want me to look?"
He shrugs, "I duess." And follows me up the stairs.
I dig around his bunk, a ziplock baggie with baby tooth disappears into my sleeve. I reach down the edge of the mattress, just in case she dropped it back there. I make sure it 'tings' against the side...such a clever minks am I! "Liam, look!" I present the coin - all apology and magic.
He takes it. He looks at it. He looks at me. He's annoyed. "You dust did dat."
"What are you talking about?"
"You dust put it dare!" And he marches down the stairs.
And I am the worst mother in the world.
He announces to his brother that my foolery will make no fool of him and he hurrumphs when his brother defends the sweet fairy..."Mommy's right, she was probably just running late or something...she probably snuck in when you were downstairs."
"Whatever, Zander! Dat's so dumb!"
And because I am ruined over my ruining I spend my lunch break perfecting the ruse with a clever letter designed to magically appear among the mail.
I read it for him. He is skeptical. "You dust wote dat."
But as night falls, he can't stop himself from looking for the moon, seeking out that bright star to the right, straining for a glimpse of that shinning dream - because maybe, just maybe, fairies are real, maybe magic is real and maybe his tooth really is a brand new star.
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