We didn’t go out to celebrate the new year of 2011. In fact, we haven’t actually partied for the new year since Zoe was a toddler. We did, however, attend the mayor’s inaugural ball that weekend. Chobe was noticeably sullen, withdrawn, sad when I told her we were going out. My mother in law came to stay with them. Chobe asked more than once if she could go to her house instead. I know sometimes she gets frightened in the house even when we are all there. I imagined she was fretting over that for some reason (I still don’t get why she sometimes refuses to go to a different part of the house alone if a light isn’t already on. Wait, scratch that; I do get it, but it still seems silly. And with that said, I shall continue to remind myself that she is 10 and unfortunately the boogeyman and armed robbers lying in wait inside her closet must seem entirely plausible).

She said she didn’t want us to go. She cried when I asked what was the matter. She shook her head and waved her hand at me and went into the bathroom in an ‘I don’t wanna talk about it’ teenager fashion. I explained to her that I couldn’t help if she wouldn’t talk. Just a few minutes before I’d heard daddy say the same: he knew something was wrong and wanted to fix it but couldn’t if he didn’t know what it was.

So I let her be. I made dinner. I peeked at her a few times, still reading a Judy Blume book curled up in a ball on her bed or in the dining room. As I got dressed I quietly went back to her and asked if she wanted to write me a letter since she was having difficulty talking in person. She said yes. There was no letter when we got home but the following day she said she was still thinking. This morning she asked if we could go someplace private tonight, away from the house, to talk. Initially I thought this was no more than her disliking her parents going out. Now, though, I see there must be much, much more.

I am intrigued. My mind has been working overtime trying to figure out what she will say. And I am preparing myself to not laugh in the slightest bit or downplay what I know will be 10 year old issues and logic.

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