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Mommy where do baby unic.., p.1
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       Mommy, Where Do Baby Unicorns Come From?, p.1

           Renee Adams
 
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Mommy, Where Do Baby Unicorns Come From?
Mommy, Where Do Baby Unicorns Come From?

  By Renée Adams

  Copyright 2011 Renée Adams

  “Mommy, where do baby horses come from?”

  Chelsea saw her mother freeze at the stove, where she was making Chelsea’s breakfast. She turned briefly to look at her daughter, her eyes as wide as a deer caught in a floodlight.

  “I, um...”

  Chelsea pushed a wisp of light brown hair out of her face and continued coloring her drawing with her crayons as she patiently waited for Mommy’s answer. She was using a green crayon right now to make trees.

  Mommy’s eyes fell on the drawing.

  “Oh, is that a family of unicorns you’re drawing?” she asked suddenly.

  Chelsea frowned down at her picture. It had a mommy horse, a daddy horse, and a baby horse. But these horses were special. They had horns on their heads.

  “What’s a...uni...uni...”

  “Unicorn,” her mother said, turning back to the stove. She looked very relieved now. “It looks like a horse with a horn on its head.”

  “Oh,” Chelsea said. She looked back down at her picture and began coloring the lopsided horns yellow.

  “Where did you see unicorns, hon?” her mother asked. “Did your teacher show you a picture?”

  “No,” Chelsea replied. “I saw one outside.”

  Mommy frowned to herself as she swished the scrambled eggs around in the pan. Her five year old daughter was full of surprises this morning.

  “Where?” Mommy asked again.

  “The playground.”

  Chelsea began humming off-key to herself as she colored, but Mommy was still frowning a little. Maybe she would have to have a talk with the kindergarten teachers, but for now, she had to make sure she dropped her daughter off on time. She had a meeting with an important client immediately after that. There was very little time to spare.

  She picked up the pan of eggs and carried it to the table.

  “Mommy, where do baby uni...unicorns...come from?” Chelsea asked again.

  Mommy nearly dropped the eggs.

  “Chelsea, eat your breakfast,” Mommy said, quickly scooping eggs onto the plate. She looked strained and pale, but Chelsea barely noticed as she put aside her crayons and started in on the food. “Mommy has to get to work, so try to eat quickly.”

  Mommy gave Chelsea a kiss on the top of her head, then hurried out of the room to get her purse before Chelsea could ask the dreaded question again.

  Chelsea stood in the kindergarten playground with her drawing rolled up and held tightly in her little hand. Behind her, the other children screamed and laughed or ran headlong into the swings to fly back and forth with their stomachs on the seats. Some played with toy dump trucks in the sandbox, digging deep trenches or building tall mountains of sand. Still others were taking turns on the slide. There was a long line up the ladder for a chance to fly down its plastic chute. A few were busily playing some game as they climbed the monkey bars. Miss Andersen was inside the school at the moment, tending to a little boy who had skinned his knee. Every so often, her head would appear at the window, peeking outside and making sure that all was well.

  Chelsea, though, appeared to be ignoring all of it. She was standing stock-still at the edge of the playground, peering through the chain link fence at the woods beyond. She hadn’t moved for at least five minutes, and the other children were beginning to notice.

  Finally, a dark-haired boy approached and stood next to her, holding a toy truck laden with sand and squinting out at the woods too.

  “What’s out there?” he asked.

  “A uni...a horse,” Chelsea replied. “With a horn on its head.”

  The little boy, whose name was Max, frowned and looked harder. “Where?”

  “I think it’s hiding right now,” Chelsea replied. She couldn’t see it either.

  “Liar,” Max accused.

  “Am not!” Chelsea retorted, finally looking away from the trees to glare at him.

  “Are too!”

  “Am not!”

  “Are too!”

  And with that, Max took the toy truck and dumped all the sand it contained over Chelsea’s head.

  “Liar!” he shouted again.

  The other children nearby laughed and pointed. They were laughing at her.

  Chelsea’s face turned bright red and screwed up with humiliation. She turned and ran for her favorite hiding place between two large forsythia bushes in the corner of the yard, the tears spilling out of her eyes.

  Max, his job done, returned proudly to the sandbox and continued playing, the other children suddenly a little more deferential to his newfound air of authority.

  Chelsea, however, stayed in the bushes and had a good hard cry, smudging her face with dirty hands as she wiped away tears. She had seen Max dump sand on other classmates, but she had never thought he would do that to her. And all the other children had laughed, just as she had when it hadn’t been her.

  There was a snort behind her.

  She turned, and there it was!

  All she could see through the leaves was the gray-lined, white muzzle at the moment that was quietly snuffling and snorting away at the fence only a foot from her, but she knew it was the uni...corn. Yes, that was it. Unicorn.

  Her tears and Max forgotten, she crawled through a small hole under the fence that years ago a large, stray dog had dug and rushed up to it, the paper still in her hand.

  The unicorn was perhaps two or three times her height and bright white, as if dirt couldn’t bear to mar such a beautiful creature. Its split hooves, mane, and tail were a silvery gray, as was the horn that rose from its forehead. It watched her with bright blue eyes that glimmered with intelligence.

  “I made you something!” she told it excitedly, unrolling the wrinkled drawing.

  The unicorn arched its neck downward to peer at it. The expression on its face was almost curious, if a horned horse could be said to look such a way.

  When it saw the drawing of three unicorns, it pranced around Chelsea happily, examining the picture from every angle.

  “Where’s your baby?” Chelsea asked, pointing at the drawing.

  The unicorn shook its head in a very human-like movement. It didn’t have one.

  “Do you have a mommy and daddy?” Chelsea asked.

  This time the unicorn hesitated. Then it nodded, but it didn’t look very sure about its answer.

  That reminded Chelsea of the question she had asked that morning and never gotten an answer to.

  “Where do baby unicorns come from?” she asked.

  The unicorn looked at her for a long moment, then nudged its nose in the direction of the forsythia bushes that hid them from the schoolyard.

  Chelsea tugged on one light brown pigtail thoughtfully, listening to the sounds of her classmates playing. Sand spilled out of her hair. She wasn’t sure she understood. Maybe the unicorn had come out of Miss Andersen’s closet. She always said no one was allowed in there because that was where she kept surprises for the class.

  “Chelsea? Chelsea!”

  Chelsea looked over her shoulder.

  Further down the fence, Miss Andersen was leaning over it and looking directly at Chelsea, relief written all over her face.

  “What are you doing out there?! How did you get out there?! You aren’t supposed to leave the playground!”

  Chelsea knew she was in trouble.

  “Here. It’s for you,” she said and put the picture down on the ground for the unicorn. “I have to go.”

  The unicorn nickered softly as Chelsea scraped her way back under the fence. Miss Andersen was already there, ignoring the branches that stabbed her a
nd pulled at her clothing, pushing the forsythia bushes aside to look.

  “Jesus,” she said under her breath as she caught sight of the hole under the fence. “I wonder how long that’s been there. That’s a lawsuit waiting to happen.”

  She took Chelsea’s wrist and guided her out of the bushes. “Goodness, look at you!” she said, brushing sand out of Chelsea’s hair and some of the dirt off her clothes. “You look like you’ve been digging around a garden all day. Let’s get you cleaned up, and then you’re going to sit in the corner until playtime is over. What were you doing over there?”

  Chelsea frowned at the idea of sitting in the corner.

  “I was talking to the unicorn.”

  Miss Andersen sighed and ran a hand through her short, curly, black hair as she led Chelsea back to the school. Sometimes she wondered if these children understood the difference between pretend and reality.

  The next day at school, Chelsea sat at her desk, working on shapes and colors that she wasn’t paying very much attention to. Time seemed to move so slowly that day, that Chelsea couldn’t stand it. Snack time came and went, and she barely tasted it. Her eyes were
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