Goldi and the Three Cards

By Anna Mitchael

OK, so Goldilocks. She’s back at the three bears’ house, and she barged in through the front door again, without even pausing to smile for the Ring doorbell.

She’s on a mission for the kitchen.

Lately an emptiness has settled into Goldi’s general belly area. If she were to pause, she’d probably realize the emptiness has nothing to do with physical hunger. But who has time to pause these days? Especially when, lo and behold, there are three bowls on the table — it’s like they are just waiting for her! She doesn’t want to decide which bowl to eat, and she can barely think with that emptiness just growing and growing.

Quickly Goldi snaps three pictures and posts them on social media. Which bowl should I choose? she asks the crowd. Then she taps a finger on the table, waiting until someone she’s never actually met answers: The middle one! And btw I love your style! Goldi takes the advice and digs in.

Sweet, sweet, porridge. Of course she’d never cook it on her own because carbs — even though she loves them — are strictly forbidden on her mental list of what to eat. But it’s a special occasion. It’s not every day she burglars a bear den. When she finishes eating, she wanders into the living room, wondering if it would be best to digest in a seated position.

Three chairs are positioned in a neat row. Immediately she plops down in one, but then her mind starts racing. Should she really be resting? Isn’t there something else to do? Could she fill this moment with something purposeful? Something intentional? Something only Goldi could do?

Realizing that the only thing that will soothe her racing thoughts is for her to start racing again, Goldi jumps up to run out of the house and on with her day. But as she’s reaching for the back door, a little table catches her eye. On it are pieces of red, pink and purple paper, tubes of glitter, heart stickers and some markers in a cup.

“Is this a Valentine’s Day card-making station?” Goldi wonders. It’s been years since she cared about Valentine’s Day. She’s long believed it’s a manufactured holiday, something corporations created to make money. And besides, she needs no one. She does just fine on her own.

Yet even with those beliefs, Goldi feels pulled toward the table. Suddenly she thinks about the shoebox she used to have in grade school, how she decorated it with such care, and how much joy she felt when friends would slide cards inside.

Goldi becomes so absorbed in making three Valentines she doesn’t hear the door open. It isn’t until Papa Bear is next to her that she realizes she is no longer alone. Then it is too late to scream or to run. She looks at the bear, then at her Valentines, speechless.

The bear had seen signs of Goldi throughout his house — eating his food, invading his space, doing him wrong. But as he looks at her carefully markered letters and stick drawings, he thinks about the shoebox he had back in grade school, the one the other cubs filled with cards. Why be mad at the girl when she’s just another creature in the world, trying to make her way? The bear puts a paw around Goldi’s shoulder.

“They look just right to me,” he says.

At that, Goldi feels the hole inside her close up a tiny bit. Maybe, she thinks, Valentine’s Day isn’t so bad after all.