…and crazy people
Noah examines the toy with avidity. Tech decks are miniature, fully functioning skateboards complete with decals. They are finger-sized, to permit acrobatic flips and runs, mimicking actual skaters.
“How many do you have, Malcolm?”
“I only got da two.”
“I have two, too.”
I stand to the side as we wait for the morning school bus. I like it when Noah gets into deep conversation with a friend and forgets me. It gives me a window into his personality,
“Malcolm, did you ever see the Dollarama fake ones? Yeah, they’re no good and like the wheels are lousy and then they just bust in no time. They’re cheap but they’re so cheap. Haha, get it?”
An insecure comic. But, then again, aren’t we all?
“Ahhh, I can’t do it.”
Malcolm has been trying a special two finger air flip, unsuccessfully.
“Look, look, this is how. You see, you put your two fingers on top and this one under and flip.”
With a rapid movement he throws the tech deck in the air and lands it perfectly.
Malcolm smiles widely. “Good one, Noah.”
“Yeah, I learned because I have like ramps and stairs, like tech deck size to do all the tricks, yeah, you know? Those I got from a friend of my dad. But my two real tech decks, not the dollar stores ones, yeah, those my dad gave me.”
Thy share a silence. Very rare in their world.
“Yeah, you know my dad gave them to me as a birthday gift, but listen a gift for me on his birthday because on his brthday he gives gifts instead of like getting gifts. Cool, huhn?”
“How’s dat possible?”
I feign innocence.
“Why do you give me like gifts on your birthday?”
“Because, for me, giving a gift is more fun than receiving one.”
He turns to Malcolm.
I turn away, I did my trick. Now to fake indifference.
“Too cool. I wish I had a cool dad like dat.”
“I have the most awesome dad.”
“My dad is never dere.”
“Yeah, my dad is never dere. I call him on da phone and he never answers. He says I should leave a message, but I do and he never calls. Never.”
“Yeah. Sucks big time.”
Again a moment of silence. I’m waiting for Noah to share that his Mother is not there, hasn’t been for years and that he never, ever calls her.
The two flip tech decks with their fingers. Malcolm finally gets it right.
“See that, Noah?”
“Yeah, watch this.”
The two rival with each other, finger flipping, ‘oohing’ and ‘aahhing’.
“Did your mom give you these?”
Malcolm shakes his head.
“Nah, it’s my grandfather.”
“My grandfather is dead, and like my grandmother, yeah, she just died like not long ago.”
Malcolm frowns, mostly because he fails to flip properly.
“But, you have two sets, no? Of grandparents?”
“No, I never met my uh, mom’s grandmother. I think she’s crazy like my mom.”
“What you mean crazy?”
“Crazy-crazy not like when you say crazy because it’s cool, but crazy because you’re like ‘aaahhhhh–eeeeeeuuuhhh.”
He simulates what he believe is a crazy person’s grimaces. Close enough. I should know, having fallen in love with one, his mom, and fornicated with others.
Fornicate. Love the word. Sounds strangely culinary.
Put a bun in the oven and he grows feet and legs and teeth and becomes….a son.
The school bus rounds the corner.
“Dad, can Malcolm like come over after school, so we can like do tech deck competitions.”