What It Means To Believe

At the edge of our quiet street in twilight I watch my daughter consider the tooth fairy. We stand with a neighbor boy and his mother. He says, there’s no tooth fairy. It’s the third time he’s said it. My daughter, two years older and ten years quieter, looks down at the ground. She sees things we drop. Dimes. Barrettes. Flashes of gold. The boy’s mother argues the tooth fairy’s case. He frowns. Shakes his head. No, he says, stamps the ground. My girl stares at his foot. Almost smiles. I look up at the first star. Maybe it’s a satellite. It is too far to believe but yet I see. Wings flutter. Something darts from a tree into the fading light. The mother claps her hands. Says, time for bed. She drags him away. A spell is broken. Or restored. I look at my daughter. We shrug. We don’t know. She starts up the stairs. As I follow,  she reaches down to pick up a smooth white stone. She holds it close to her mouth, whispers something I can’t hear, and runs into the house. I ascend slowly after her, believing in everything.