We spent the evening with adult friends, which means the Girl got to watch more television than she normally does. In a string of semi-guided clicks and choices, she ended up watching a made-for-TV “family” movie, Princess: A Modern Fairy Tale. It was a typical modern story, with a couple of lines of almost-sexual innuendo that I decided I would sit with the Girl and watch a fairly simplistic story about a “princess” (I never quite understood why she had to be a modern-day “princess” in an American urban center other than the fact that it allowed others to think her a freak.) who in fact is the healer for all the mythical creatures that in fact aren’t: in other words, unicorns, mermaids, and fairies actually exist but a handful of people are aware of the simple fact.
At one point, there was a scene with a hydra-like creature attacking an unbeliever (who quickly came to believe in hydras, unicorns and such), and as quickly as one could imagine, the Girl was in my arms.
“I’m scared,” she said.
I went through the usual statements of fact — “It’s just a movie” and the like — but I knew what was coming at bed time.
“Daddy, I think I need someone to sleep with me,” she said in all earnestness. I comforted her, assured her of the safety of our home, and a thousand other things. She calmed down, but a few minutes later she called me back, in tears. After repeating the process, I returned a few minutes later to find her sound asleep. I wondered briefly at the fears she had held at bay long enough to drift to sleep, and I realized what a brave girl she can be.