His eyes are not quite open. He’s lived through another night of extreme heat with a big fan just a foot away from his bed. The choice was simple… bake or spend the night in a wind tunnel.
His swept back hair and Clint Eastwood eyes are evidence he chose the wind.
His fingers push on the muffin, perhaps testing it’s freshness. The flesh of the cake responds by demonstrating its sponginess. It is, after all, a Morning Glory Muffin: a mix of berries and coconut. A wish, a hope, a destiny.
An epic fail?
Noah grasps the muffin and moves it to his mouth. But it slips out of his fingers, hits the table, bounces on his lap and lands on the floor.
Noah’s Clint eyes tighten even further as he stares silently at the offending cake.
How could it just, not cooperate like that? How dare the universe conspire to defeat him?
The kid gives one of those ‘the hell with you’ grimaces and leaves the muffin on the ground. He turns his attention instead to the tall glass of cold milk. Glorious, refreshing with drops of condensation pearling its sides. Noah moistens his parched lips.
But his eyes are still only horizontal slashes. For some reason he feels it necessary to suddenly slick down his hair with both hands. Plasters it to the side of his head. Is he making himself presentable for that tall glass of milk calling him out? Or is he just trying to get his coordination back?
He reaches for the glass. Grasps it. His eyebrows shoot up and his mouth slips into a crooked smile at the contact of the cool glass.
Anticipation. Pleasure. Imminent success.
He lifts the glass and moves it to his mouth. The attractive, air-brushed pearls of water were a delight at first touch, but, like all wonders, they possess a terrifying capacity to devastate. The glass is slippery. As it travels towards his mouth, it falls slowly from his hand.
The horror on his face. The fall of the glass that tips. Milk splashing out in mid air. The crash as it hits the floor, releasing its white treasure in an explosion that washes over the bereft muffin.
For the first time on this African morning, Noah turns and looks at me.
Generally speaking, spilled milk drives me nuts. Not only did we waste the milk, but I’ve got to hurry to sop it up before it flows into shoes, toys, floor cracks and curdles. And now I don’t have breakfast for Noah. That was the last of the milk and the last muffin.
But I spent the night in my own wind tunnel. My eyes are tight, my head empty, my ambition swept to the wind.
So I just groan. But don’t move.
“Sorry dad, the glass was like really slippy.”
“And the muffin was round.”
“Hmmm… but you’re going to have to clean it up anyways.”
“But it wasn’t really my fault you know.”
“Yeah, but the universe has no paper towels.”
He does Joe Pesci meets Robert de Niro after having fornicated with Clint Eastwood. I’m not impressed.
“Hurry, unless you want floor cheese for supper.”
He grunts but runs off. I hear him grabbing stuff as I watch a thin rivulet of milk wending it’s way towards my foot.
You fail, you pay, you mess up, you clean. Even when it’s the universe’s fault.
The milk has hit a small mound of dirt mere inches from my big toe. It works its way through, but before it can broach the obstacle, I move my foot a full six inches further away.
Take that universe!