When I wake up the next morning, Laura Ingalls Wilder is inches from my face.
Somehow, in the vast confusion that was last evening involving her numerous tantrums, an entire roasted chicken and potatoes baked in an actual fire, L.I.W. wound up on the top bunk.
I never let anyone sleep in the top bunk but me. Not even my little sister, who wants to so, so bad.
So I tossed and turned on the bottom bunk, while L.I.W. snored like a locomotive. For someone so small and so out of her time period, she makes way too much noise.
I squint at her – the sun beaming through my curtains has backlit her head – and it’s only after a few moments that I realize she’s wearing eye shadow. Seafoam Mist, she says. She jams something in my face, and it’s one of my mom’s Good Housekeeping magazines, open to an ad for Maybelline.
Oh my god, I groan, pulling the covers over my head. What is wrong with you?
When I peek out from the covers, I see she’s wearing one of my nightgowns, the flannel one with the tiny roses, and my white, patent leather Easter shoes. The ones I’ve managed to keep absolutely mark-free. She’s tied one of my satin hair ribbons around her waist and my chest tightens as I realize she knotted it. That will never come out.
Hey – I begin, but L.I.W. is already out the door and running down the hall.
I sit up in bed and throw the covers off. From the kitchen, my mother’s voice wafts to my room. Don’t you look pretty, I hear her exclaim. Those shoes fit you perfectly!
I was the fastest runner in the third grade and I’m still pretty fast. I make it to the kitchen in one breath and start shouting.
SHE DIDN’T ASK BEFORE SHE TOOK THOSE. IT’S NOT FAIR. SHE KNOTTED THE RIBBON. IT’S MY PURPLE ONE. THAT’S MY NIGHTGOWN. IF SHE GETS THOSE SHOES DIRTY, I’LL –
My mother gives me one of those looks she reserves for fancy restaurants and other public places where you’re not supposed to shout. This is our guest. Surely, you can share some of your things with Laura.
Oh. So it’s Laura now, is it?