The Tea Set

When the rest of the family went to watch the new robot alien movie, Marigold spent the afternoon visiting her grandma. Everyone agreed that the movie was probably too scary for her. Marigold didn’t mind. Visiting grandma was fun.

She went home with a dusty shoebox tucked under her arm. “What’s that?” her brother Shawn asked.

“It’s a tea set,” Marigold said. “Grandma gave it to me. Do you want to have a tea party with me?”

“I’m kind of busy,” Shawn said.

“Mom said I could have cookies and juice,” Marigold said.

“Maybe I’m not all that busy,” Shawn said. “When can we start?”

“I need help washing the tea set, then we can set everything up,” Marigold said.

“Go get the dish soap. We can wash the dishes in the bathroom sink.” Shawn held out his hands. Marigold handed him the box. He lifted the lid. “Oh wow, this is pretty fancy.”

Marigold smiled. “Yeah, they’re all covered in gold and silver squiggles. I like it.”

Shawn picked up a cup and held it up. “It almost looks like words, but not quite.” He put the cup back in the box. “So, go get the soap.”

They washed the dishes. Their mother gave them the cookies and juice. They sat at the table in the late afternoon sunlight that filtered through the leaves of the tree outside.

Marigold poured juice from the teapot into the little cups. Shawn picked up his little cup as Marigold asked, “Should we have tea party names?”

Shawn put the cup back on its saucer. “What do you mean?”

“Well, I could be Miss Pretty Hair, and you could be Mr. Long Legs,” she said.

“I don’t have long legs,” Shawn said.

“Yes you do,” Marigold said. “That’s why I can’t ever keep up with you when we go on a walk.”

“Why can’t we use our own names?”

Marigold sighed and rolled her eyes. “Because it’s a tea party.”

Shawn laughed. “Fine.   I’ll be Mr. Long Legs.” He picked up his little cup again. “I propose a toast to Miss Pretty Hair.”

Marigold laughed and picked up her little cup. They gently tapped their cups together and then took a sip of juice.   The world spun and turned upside down.   The next thing they knew, they were standing on the table and the cups were just the right size.

“What just happened?” Shawn asked.

“Oh, this it perfect!” Marigold said. She pointed at their dishes. “Look, now they’re just right. She looked over her shoulder. “Oh, no wings,” she said. She looked disappointed. “We’re not fairies. Maybe we’re dolls?” She started poking her arm with her finger.

“Marigold, this isn’t perfect, it’s terrible. What if we never change back?” He looked over the edge of the table. “It’s too far to jump, even if we tried to jump onto the chairs first.”

“Maybe it will wear off,” Marigold said. “Let’s finish the tea party.”

“I’m going to call for mom,” Shawn said. “Maybe she’ll know what to do. Mom! MOM!”

They waited. “Maybe she didn’t hear you. She might be outside,” Marigold said. “She’ll be back eventually. We could have our tea party while we wait.”

“But isn’t that what shrunk us? I don’t want to get any smaller,” Shawn said.

“Of course we won’t,” Marigold said. “It made us just the right size for the tea set. What good would it do to make us any smaller?”

“That makes a weird sort of sense,” Shawn said. “All right. Let’s finish the tea party, Miss Pretty Hair. Would you like a cookie?”

“Why thank you, Mr. Long Legs. Those cookies look huge.”

The children drank all the juice and ate the now giant cookies. When everything was gone, the world spun.   Then everything turned upside down again.

They were sitting back in their chairs, and the tea set was tiny again.   “That was fun,” Marigold said.   “Let’s do it again tomorrow.”

“Only if there’s cookies,” Shawn said. “Come on, I’ll help you wash up.”