Him: What gets wetter the more it dries?
Me: A towel.
It’s been a weird week, which sounds about right. Like always, I need to sort it all out.
Her: I just want to be normal and boring: A job that I sort of hate, two kids that have too many activities, and a husband that knows that when I make a certain favorite dinner of his, it’s my silent I Love You.
Me: Let me get the kid down and I’ll give you a quick ring.
Her: Not best time to speak.
Me: OK, then we’ll try at some point. I’m sorry things are so hard.
Her: Thank you. I feel like you understand better than anyone else
Me: Like I said, grief and I are old friends. Take care of yourself.
For all the other single parents out there, I honestly don’t know how you do it. I’m tired all the damn time. Him getting COVID and missing a week of school didn’t help matters.
Still, I’m grateful that his COVID experience was radically different than mine. He was happy as a clam and at full energy levels.
Him: What was the tallest mountain in the world before Mount Everest was discovered?
Me: Hmm, I don’t know.
Him: Mount Everest!
He’s so full of energy and curiosity that it’s hard to manage. But I’m trying to see the world as he does – full of wonder and mysteries to be solved.
Him: (walking outside with me) How does water get into our apartment?
Me: (stopping) Do you see that wooden barrel on the top of that building? Ok there are two pipes inside, one small pipe that sends water up to the barrel. The second pipe is bigger and…
Him: (later) There are wooden barrel everywhere, papa!
Me: That’s called the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon; once you see something, you can’t unsee it.
Therein lies my problem with life. I’ve seen way too much. I know too much.
As much as I’d like to unsee things, most times I can’t. Which is why I value the ability to forget so much.
I spend a lotta my time actively trying to forget things and people. To survive everything I’ve survived, I have to leave so many things I once loved in the past.
Man, to be like this kid and see the world for the first time. To get a do-over.
Him: What are those lines in the street for?
Me: It’s so the cars don’t hit each other. They’re called “lanes,” and people try to stay in them to keep everyone else safe.
I’m not sure how I could possibly be more jaded. Shit, the entire month of May is a reminder of things I’ve lost and try to forget.
Him: What do you have to break to use?
As much as I take care of the boy, the boy takes care of me as well.
I can be coldly dispassionate about things but, with children, that’s not healthy. So, I find myself trying to be in the moment with him as much as I can – with optimism and joy, which is pretty much him in a nutshell.
Him: What has four legs, is green and brown, and would hurt you if it fell off of a tree?
Me: (thinking) I don’t know.
Him: A pool table!
Me: (laughing) Well, that’s just silly.
Him: (giggling) I know! A pool table!
I know he doesn’t know that I’m faking it.
But I worry that, someday, he will.
See, while I know a shitton of nonsense, people escape me.
I don’t get people. While I’m great with people, I don’t understand people.
That’s a whole entry in itself.
In some ways, I’m great with the kid because I talk to him the way I talk to most of the world, for better or worse.
Few people get my full dispassionate cerebration, otherwise, I’d just be alone again, like I was when I was a kid.
Him: What eats apples and books?
Me: A bookworm!
I remember watching Dexter with Alison in Bermuda and wondering if she made the connection that both that character and I (to a much lesser degree) fake so much of being normal.
If she did, she never let on.
Suppose, in the end, it didn’t matter.
As for the kid, all I really want is for this kid to be better, and happier, than I. At the very least, I hope and expect that he’ll get along with people as well as I do but he’ll understand them in a way I don’t think I ever will.
If wishes were horses, yeah?
Him: What building has the most stories?
Me: A library!
Him: You’re good at these, papa!
Me: (nodding) I spent a lot of my life thinking, kiddo. A lot of time alone with my thoughts. Something that I hope you won’t have to do.