just like that, except completely different

Practically every day, I pop my head into the kids’ rooms: “Going to the store. Need anything? Want to come with?” Sometimes it’s yes to both, sometimes barely a grunt of disinterest. But every now and then, magic happens. Like today.


Katya: Can you get bagels, like the ones Liza likes, but not those?
Pen: Okay, she likes cinnamon raisin, so do you want blueberry? Or plain? Or what?
Katya: No, not bagels.
Pen: But you asked for bagels.
Katya: But not like those.
Pen: Right, so I asked what kind, then.
Katya: Not those.
Pen: So, any other kind will do?
Katya: No, not those. The kind that Liza likes.
Pen: I don’t understand. She likes cinnamon raisin.


And round and round we went, until both our heads almost exploded. “Never mind,” she said. “I’ll come with you. I’ll know it when I see it.”

Stopping in the bread section, she pointed at plain bagels.

Pen: Okay, so it was plain bagels you wanted.
Katya: No.
Pen: But…then why did you point to plain bagels?
Katya: I was showing you what they’re not like.
Pen: (gesturing toward bagel rack) Okay. Then pick your poison.
Katya: No, NOT like these.
Pen: Kat, is there any more detail you can give about what you’re looking for?
Katya: The kind Liza likes!
Pen: (seizing a package of bagels) She likes cinnamon raisin!
Katya: Yes, but NOT those!


After a sigh, several minutes of angry silence, and a lap around the bread aisle, we saw them– the Bagels That Were Not.

She wanted English muffins. Cinnamon raisin English muffins.

“I hate this language,” Katya said. “I bet they don’t even know what these are in England.”

I bet she’s right.


Name o' Penfold. Just Penfold. A full-time husband, dad, programmer, and nerd, trying to add "writer" to the list.

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