“We need to be at school at 8h15, Noah, which means we set off on foot at 7h30.”
“But why can’t we be there at 7h30?”
“I don’t feel like getting up at 6 unless it’s absolutely necessary.”
That was last night.
This morning he was up at 5:39 and fully dressed at 5:45.
I know why he wants to get to school at the crack of dawn. Today is an activity. The whole school is going to a movie and then a buffet. The whole school includes Keegan, Noah’s grade six crush. He’s told his teacher, his buddies and me that he’s going to sit beside her in the movie and put his arm around her.
“And imagine, dad, I just can’t hold myself I’m so excited. Keegan and me will be eating at the same table.”
“How do you know you’ll be sitting at the same table?”
There’ s going to be 200 kids.
“I googled the restaurant dad. I saw that they’re all big tables. Big like, you see our apartment? Yeah big like that. And I asked Miss Matula and she told me that all the seniors are going to eat at the senior table. And I’m a senior. Oh yeah, oh yeah, so sweet.”
He drops on a knee with the tackiest Julio Iglesias channeling expression he can manage and pumps his heart in double-fisted passion before reaching out to the object of his affection. He breaks into song.
“Oh, you’re so beautiful/you just think of us as friends/but I think we’re more/ You’re so beautiful, so beautiful… “.
One of his classic compositions. He’s been practicing it for a while.
“Wow, Noah. Very nice.”
“But don’t worry, dad, I won’t do it like that today. Keegan would freak.”
She’s 12, he’s 9, she’s twice his height… a tragically impossible love story.
“And make sure you ask her permission if you want to sit beside her and …”
“I know, I know and especially if I want to put like my arm around her. Dad, how much does popcorn cost?”
“Depends on the size. At the movies they have giganormous popcorn bags.
“Haha, dad, not the giganormous one, but you know the normal one. This way if I’m the only one who has popcorn, because you know it’s not included in the activity, yeah maybe she’ll want to sit beside me.”
“But if she says ‘no’…”
“I know dad, if she says no, it means no and I can’t insist.”
“If you love her you’ve got to respect her.”
“I know. Today is just the best. There’s only one suckish thing.”
“Those tests tonight with that lady.”
Tonight, we go to a pedo-psychiatrist for a bunch of tests to determine whether he has some form of attention deficit or symptoms of his Mother’s schizophrenia. His lack of focus and discipline at school may be early symptoms that I can help palliate. Or just proof of an artistic personality and his dad’s “out of the box” lifestyle.
“Told you, Noah. Don’t worry, it’ll be more fun than last night’s visit to the dentist.”
“Geez, I hope so. But dad, is there something wrong with my head?”
“You draw like Da Vinci, sing like Pavarotti, reason like Einstein. Nothing wrong with you. You’re brilliant and kind. That’s your head. We’re going there tonight to help you use it. Sometimes at school you waste your talent in useless anger and fights.”
“That’s true, dad. Can we go now, dad, it’s already 7.”
“Here, Noah, five bucks to buy popcorn.”
“Oh yeah, great, dad. I love you.”
“I love you too.”