The Soupster helps a father on a quest.
“I looooove Tristan,” five-year-old Lily cooed about her preschool classmate in a continuous loop. “I want to marry Tristan. We will live in the house next door.”
The little girl was cuter than a bug, but her mother, Sarah, frowned. Strong-willed Lily had been at it about Tristan for more than a week and Sarah was so, so tired of it. She worried that Lily was obsessed. She worried it had to do with their recent move from their former town to Our Town. Lily had talked constantly about missing her friends from their old town until she started in on Tristan.
“Lily is much too young for us to have to be seriously concerned with her having those kinds of feelings, isn’t she?” asked Sarah’s husband Bill, who thought he was agreeing with his wife.
“No, you’re wrong,” Sarah said, “The kinds of feelings Lily is having are fine. It’s just that she’s so driven and relentless about it!”
But a week later, Sarah and Bill would have been only too happy to hear their daughter talk continuously about her happy future life with Tristan. For, Lily and Tristan’s daycare closed suddenly when the woman who ran it had to go South to care for relatives. The two young friends were separated, parceled out to two different daycares. Lily was crushed.
Bill decided that he would save the day. He would find Tristan and arrange a play date for Lily. With Sarah taking the brunt of supporting a little girl who very publicly expressed her sadness, Bill set out to find Tristan.
Now Our Town is a small town, to be sure. But even a small town can be daunting when you don’t know anybody. Bill knew only the guys at work, so he started there.
But when he told his gape-mouthed co-workers his story, they hooted with delight. The whole crew had been looking for some way to razz the new guy, and the story of Lily and Tristan fit perfectly. They started calling Bill “Dolly” — after the matchmaker-protagonist of “Hello, Dolly!”
The experience eroded some of Bill’s enthusiasm, but he kept at it. He didn’t know Tristan’s last name, parents’ names, or where they worked or lived. After striking out for a couple of days, Bill decided to play detective and visit the old, now-empty daycare to see if he could dig up any clues.
He stood outside the daycare building, formerly a home with a semi-attached B&B. The Soupster, who lived next door, saw Bill and sidled over.
“Quiet, with the kids gone,” the Soupster commented. Bill told the Soupster why he was there.
“Tristan?” said the Soupster. “That kid is a pistol! He was always hanging over the fence wanting to help me with my chores. There was a little girl with him – brown curls? His mother Pam works at the city.”
Bill barely said thanks, he was in such a rush to get back and deliver the good news.
He burst through his front door and saw Lily in the living room, embracing her teddy bear.
“I found Tristan!” Bill spilled happily.
“No, Daddy,” said Lily. “I want to live with Teddy in a house next door to you and Mommy. I looooove Teddy!”
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