he paid too much for the green day tickets, but it was worth it. now they’re tucked inside the gift-wrapped book of gary larson cartoons.
it took him a week of horse-trading to convince his ex to let james spend his birthday away from her.
now he’ll spend christmas morning alone, thanksgiving dinner alone, and new year’s eve playing wii. but it was totally worth it.
they’d leave after lunch and drive to the gorge. three hours. or three times through american idiot, give or take a few minutes. he could already see james singing along. serious. the words important.
so he sits on his rented couch, self-satisfied, his son asleep in the other room. it’s a meager pile of gifts. guaranteed to stir disappointment. only to multiply the frenzy when the gift is revealed.
did he imagine it? like a low murmur.
there it is again.
and now he recognizes his son’s voice. the words are nonsense: the leap frog committee is late, everyone down to the shore.
but like a magic spell the voice transports him: behold my son’s existence, a masterpiece suddenly given a frame. a rush of understanding and of mystery. an energetic hope, awe wrestling with clarity.
twelve years old. the birth of cool kids and nerds. in and out. it’s all ahead of him. it’s almost too much to bear. everything and nothing.
something swells inside. for a moment he’s lost. somewhere between heaven, tears, and madness.
and then it passes.
after a moment he checks his iphone. time for bed.
and then a simple smile: tomorrow will be a good day.