He holds up his foot and waves it at me. In fact, the stitching creates a protuberance at both ends. They look like ears to me.
“More like ears, on a sock puppet.”
“Nawww, they’re wings, look.”
His throws himself on the futon, his leg raising. His foot flutters away.
“I can flyyyyyyyy. Like Icarus. You know about Icarus, dad?”
“We’re learning about mythology, yeah. so Icarus had wings on his feet.”
He flutters his socked foot, complete with the sound of flapping wings.
“Noah, that was Hermes, God of Sports and Writing and other stuff. Icarus was…”
“…yeah yeah, I know, Icarus was like with the minotaur, in a labyrinth right? Yeah and he went too high and his wings like they melted, right. An dad, did he die?”
“That sucks. So yeah. I prefer Hermes then.”
“And I prefer to see you dressed so we don’t miss the bus.”
Death by ambition, for flying too high. Icarus is a tragic cautionary tale. Hermes on the other hand was good looking, immortal and busy, as god of animal husbandry, roads, travel, hospitality, heralds, diplomacy, trade, thievery, language, writing, persuasion, cunning wiles, athletic contests, gymnasiums, astronomy, and astrology. He was also the personal agent and herald of Zeus.
Cheater, traveler, writer, jock. And well connected. A true VIP. Must have had success with the ladies.
“Dad, I have a question.”
“Did you brush your teeth?”
“Wash your face?”
“Feed the fish?”
“Okay dad, I’ll feed him now. But, can I ask you…?”
“Feed the fish then we talk as we walk.”
He’s so reasonable sometimes. Maybe because he has me as a cautionary tale. I survived the fall, but barely. You can still smell the burned feathers and see the ashes in my hair.
“Yeah, so dad.”
He bounds down the steps and flies to the sidewalk.
“See, I’m like Hermes. Whoosh.” He adopts an intense pose, like in a Greek sculpture.
“Yeah, so, dad, can I ask my question?”
“Walk and talk.”
“Is it okay if I fly instead?”
“I won’t be able to follow.”
“I’ll fly low, so you can like keep up.”
He sashays as if flying.
“Yeah, dad, can I ask you a question?”
“The answer is no.”
He freezes. “But I didn’t even ask a question yet.”
“Keep flying or we’ll miss the bus.”
“I know what the question is, Noah.”
“What is it then? Huh!” His hands are fluttering like ineffective wings.
“You wanted to know if your bedtime could be later now that you’ve finished grade three.”
“Wha…! How did you know? I mean how?”
Do I remind him he’s already asked three times in twenty-four hours and been refused three times? Or do I bask in his amazement at my omniscience?
“I’m just good, Noah.”
A little basking…for Icarus of the singed self-belief.
“But look, dad…”
Hermes, god of persuasion.
“…I’m nine and a half now and lots of my friends go to bed way later.”
The school bus rounds the corner.
“Have a good day, Noah.” I kiss him on the top of the head.
Despite his obvious disappointment, Noah blows me a kiss as the bus pulls away. Now that’s a true delight.
No need for wax wings if you stay grounded.