She looks across the park, points, and says, “Look, Emma, look! Another little girl with bright red hair, just like ours! Isn’t that cool? Three of us, all together, having ice cream at the same time, in the same park, on the same day! Very cool. My textbook says that before too long all the people with really bright red hair will be extinct.”
Emma, being only five, has no idea whether or not she wants to be extinct. She just stands there, wondering where the other girl’s mother is and what kind of ice cream the other girl likes; wondering if extinction means no more ice cream, no more trips to the park. She asks her mother what “extinct” means, and her mother says, “It means you’re not here anymore.” Emma checks her fingers and toes to make sure she’s not disappearing. When she looks up from her sandals, the other little redhead is nowhere to be seen.
Tucked up safe in her bed that night, Emma has trouble getting to sleep.