“Jesus broke his arm,” she says, clutching the crucifix like a popsicle. The plastic figure’s limb has come loose from the body and hangs sickly from a nail on the cross bar.
The little girl, all pre-Raphaelite features and messy blonde curls, has shown me her latest games. Hoola hoop. She wants me to try it but I say I’m too old.
I am. Too old to learn about kids.
“Jesus broke his willie!” she shouts. I feign horror.
This little one likes me, draws me pictures, and holds Jesus in front of me. “Do you want Jesus on your head,” she says, and I break up laughing. “No, thanks,” I say, “I have him in my heart.” A great big lie. I’ll burn in hell for it.
Her mother puts her to bed, but she returns to the living room a few times, clutching more and more stuffed animals to her chest. Finally, she picks up the crucifix.
“French people… French people pray like this,” she says, going down on one knee, her hands devoutly clasped together. Her mother explains about God, Allah, Buddha, different ways to pray and it’s way past bed time. She takes it all in.
Later, we hear her talking in her bedroom. She’s putting her treasures to bed.
“Don’t worry, Jesus,” she says, “I’ll get those nails out for you.”