“I just realized that.”
“And, yeah, the funniest thing is that we, like, said the exact same things the day before and, dad, the worst or the best, hahaha, I don’t know, you know, yeah it’s that we were exactly at the exact same place.”
We’re on our usual walk through the park on the way to his day camp.
By now we’re both smiling so widely it’s loud.
“Noah, we’re like an old couple that always says the same things to each other because they’re together all the time and…”
“…and they like finish, you know, each, uh, each other’s sentences. Hahaha.”
He looks at me over his sunglasses to see if I got his joke.
“Get it dad? i just like you know….”
“….completed my sentence?” I throw him a look. He punches me in the gut.
We dissolve into a giggle-filled squabble.
This morning he’s in a great and generous mood.
“I love the way you’re growing up, Noah. And you have a great sense of humor.”
“Yeah, I do.”
“And modest at that.”
“Hahaha….good one, Yeah, you’re like me, dad, you have like a nasty sense of humor, I like nasty humor.”
“It’s got to be smart though, like George Carlin. remember?”
“Yeah, yeah, like about his stuff, that was good, like, uhm, the way he was always buying too much stuff and had to like always move because he had ‘too much stuff’.”
He does a credible impersonation of the scruffy comedian’s indignant tone.
“Dad, you know, these glasses make me look Japanese.”
“Cool, this way it fits what you’re wearing.”
It’s the last day of the summer camp and they’re doing a Chic Ball. The kid’s were encouraged to dress up. Noah is wearing an outfit that a friend of mine brought back from Japan.
The evening before he was doubtful.
“I look dumb, dad.”
“No. You look great.”
“But nobody wears this.”
“That’s what fashion icons never say to themselves.”
“What do yo mean?”
“Other people imitate them because they set trends, because they take risks, because they’re confident in their coolness.”
“They have swag,”
“They have swag.”
This morning, again, he almost ran of courage. He was posing in front the mirror in full dress.
“Dad, I feel weird.”
“You look like a teen star on the red carpet.”
“Like the Teen Awards?”
He’s still reticent. Being remarkable takes guts. Because it involves being remarked, with all that implies of potential embarrassment and occasional humiliation.
“You know, Noah, why don’t you wear your cool shades. It would be absolutely perfect.”
I jump into action, rummage through a drawer, find his sunglasses which I wipe down from several months of dust. He slips them on and poses at the mirror. His sudden face splitting smile says it all.
Now we’re almost at the camp and he is again assailed by doubts.
“You know what, Noah, I bet you that as soon as we go in, the girls, the animators at the registration desk are all going to go goo-goo gaa gaa, ‘oh you’re so cute, wow, what an outfit’. How much you wanna bet?”
“Two Pokémon booster packs if I win.”
Wow! That was on the tip of his tongue.
“Okay, and if I win I get two hugs.”
“When do I get to buy them, dad?”
“Because you’re going to lose, oh yeah, oh yeah.”
Of course if he loses, he wins.
We reach the camp. The entrance has two sets of glass doors. The registration desk is in the lobby just beyond. Noah pulls the first door and even before it hits his butt, we see the girls at the desk do ‘ooh’ and ‘aaahh’ and point to us. I start a dance of victory as we go through the second set of doors into the lobby.
The ladies literally erupt into cheers.
“Noaaaaahhhh…..you’re so gorgeous. What a cool outfit. Wow.”
The staff at the general desk come around to check the commotion. All women.
“Oooohhh, so nice. With the glasses and all.”
My boy stands, hand in pocket, smiling widely, looking left and right. The only thing missing are the flashes.
“And the best is that I get two hugs because I won the bet. I told him you would say that. Come on, pay up.”
He throws his full 137 centimeters against me.
There is a collective ‘Ooooohhh’ from the ladies of the lobby.
As he disappears into the stairwell I wonder how I sometimes forget about the wonder of it all.