Sadness attracts sadness. But rather than being borne by a need to commiserate, perhaps sad people are drawn to one another because caring for someone else is the only way out of sadness sometimes.
Little Cooper, the frowny girl from the park, has been walking by the house a lot lately. She always notices Dianthus, and sometimes looks as though she might say something, but just keeps going along the footpath. But today she silently came up and sat on the deck.
Seeing his young friend so upset allowed Dia to forget his own troubles for a moment.
They do this thing where they start with a joke-off, each taking turns telling the most horrible, corny jokes they can think of until the both of them are doubled over in laughter. It’s so freaking cute.
Once we’d broken through the gloom, Dia was able to get an idea of what was going on.
Turns out Cooper was bummed because Mom forgot her birthday. 😦
Nobody should be alone on her birthday! Dia asked Cooper if she’d like to stay and hang out for a bit. They could play some games, make some toaster pastries, surf some channels..
What kid can resist the old toilet pickle gag? Of course she wanted to hang out!
We were gonna have fun! But wait – birthdays need photos to remember them by!
The sound of Dia and Cooper laughing and chatting and horsing around was really lifting the emotional fog in the house. Others came to join them.
Nobody asked why. They just gave themselves permission to live again, and so they did.
They busted out the leftovers. Daisy mused that she hadn’t done her homework all week & might as well crack the book open, and made a big pot of coffee. Delphinium joined her.
Then Cooper’s mom, Courtney, invited herself in. She was not too happy that her daughter was here, and meant to let Daisy know all about it.
(It was at this point that we discovered that Courtney is Evil. Perhaps that has something to do with her kid being sad all the time? Not cool. Now we were feeling protective and a bit punchy about this. 😡 )
Courtney took Cooper home immediately. (But she’d already had lots of fun and desserts by then, so pbplbplbpb, you monster!)
After Cooper left, Dianthus wanted to do something special for her. He’d been practicing writing lately and was feeling like he was getting pretty good at it, so he decided to write her a book as a late birthday present.
“Secret Agent Cooper” would be a funny, action-packed story about a little girl who seems perfectly ordinary, but is actually a secret agent! He chuckled to himself as he imagined his Cooper as the protagonist. He could totally see it!
Having a mission was finally pulling Dia out of his funk. He still needed to shower, but this time it was from being so absorbed in his writing that he couldn’t tear himself away.
He finished the whole thing in 2 days. He was so excited to give it to Cooper that he called and invited her over right after school. While he waited for her to arrive, he spent some time looking for penpals online. He was really enjoying this writing thing and figured penpals would be a good way to be social without, y’know, being social.
Dia’s elder brother Delphinium had some people over that day too, so when the young woman came into his room he just assumed she was one of his brother’s friends roaming the house.
He knew she’d heard him, but she was still just standing there next to his computer, smiling.
There was something oddly familiar about this girl, but he couldn’t put his finger on it. Until she spoke.
Oh gawd, that joke! He knew that joke. He knew this girl! She said her mom had forgotten her birthday, but he didn’t know that was her birthday birthday. Dia was pretty sure his face had just turned beet red. But his Cooper was still in there, and he couldn’t let the awkwardness of physical changes detract from how much he liked, and needed, his friend. Unfazed, she plopped herself down on the bed and broke his brain, again.
Oh gawd, the gift. He suddenly felt very self-conscious about Secret Agent Cooper. But that’s silly, right? He was still proud of the work he did – there were some awesome quips in there. So he gave it to her anyway, with a humble plea that she not laugh at him too hard.
She loved the gesture and gave him a huge hug.
He started the high five out of habit – Cooper used to have to jump to hit his hand, but that was not the case any more!
Her hand could touch his just fine, now.
Well, hmm. This is different.