“No more pencils, no more books, no teachers. no dirty looks…”
Nothing better, except for my long legged, long-toothed 9 year old belting out an Alice Cooper rock anthem.
“…school”s out for summer…”
Even sweeter is joining him.
“…school’s out forever….”
And going nuts in unison.
“Dad, I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but you really don’t sing it well.”
“Yeah, I know, but who cares…”
I raise my voice even more in a perfect impersonation of a goat braying an Alice Cooper rock anthem.
“That’s sooooo bad, dad, stop, please stop.”
He jumps me, tries to block my mouth. Little midget still needs a few years of oatmeal before he can silence me. I stick my drooly tongue through his fingers. He immediately pulls away his hand.
“Oh gross, daaaad…”
I don’t waste a moment.
“What would you do if I sang out of tune, would you stand up and walk out on me…”
Without missing a beat, he stands up and walks out of the room.
“What? You don’t like John Lennon?”
“You’re no Lennon, dad.” he says loudly, from the next room. “So I walk out on you….oh yeah, oh yeah, sing out of tune and I’ll walk out on you…”
Lennon Rap…perfectly in tune. Talented little annoyance.
He runs naked across the hallway, into the bathroom. He’s got the cutest bubble butt.
“School’s out, oh yeah, shout it out, school’s out…” He mixes the lyrics with the sound of him peeing. Total freedom. Two guys. Noah and me.
“What’s that song, Noah.”
“It’s like the new version of your song except it’s cooler because it’s like a party time song, you know.”
“I gotta move my body, I can”t take it anymore,when the bell rings, I’m outta here…”
I join in.
“When the bell rings…”
“Dad, please, you can’t sing.”
He’s frowning at me, buck naked arrogance in full show. Since I’m the adult in the room, I give him a noisy, full tongued, spittle projecting Bronx cheer. He gets sprayed.
“Geez, dad, what is it with you? So gross.”
“School’s out, Noah.”
“Not for you, You don’t even GO to school.”
“It’s a state of mind, kid.”
“What does that mean?”
“It means it’s a way of feeling, a way of thinking…school’s out so let’s go a little crazy, have some fun, you know?”
“I don’t really like it dad, when adults go crazy. It’s a bit freaky.”
“What’s freaky to me is how kids are sticks in the mud.”
He sticks his head in the dryer, looking for clean underwear. His bubble butt sticks up in the air, beckoning a parental slap. Especially, since he’ll take it badly if I do. I sneak up. He suddenly rears up from the dryer and drills me with a look.
“Don’t you dare, dad.”
Caught! I giggle, as I always did, as a kid, when I got caught, no matter whether or not I was really guilty of anything.
Geez, he’s already in training for parenthood.
I move into the kitchen. He may have the attitude of a parent but it’s still me who makes lunch.
“Dad, I don’t really feel like going to the day camp today. It’s like the first day of the summer.”
“Gotta work, Noah. And you’ll have way more fun with a bunch of kids at camp than with me.”
He wants me to be serious but only so far.
“…I could like, stay home and you work and I play on my DS, you know.”
“No. Sorry kid.”
His habitual two note complaint that plays on my guilt and my rage. I focus on frying an egg.
He’s moving slowly, with ill will. Damn! I’m going to have to hustle him along in the parental meme that drives me nuts…get dressed, brush your teeth, feed your cat, find a cap etc etc.
I breathe. Remain silent. Slap the egg in a sandwich.
Fifteen long minutes later, he drags his morosity down the stairs. The walk to day camp is going to be long. So much for the joy of ‘School’s Out’. He reflexively reaches up to the mailbox. The mailman came early. There’s an usual green envelope.
I immediately recognize his mother’s handwriting. His mother who went crazy for real and is in and out of psychiatric wards in Belgium.
Maybe that’s why he doesn’t like me going crazy, even for fun.
He stares at the envelope. “A letter from your mom, Noah.”
An usual event. He’s had no news from her in a year.
“Oh. I’ll open it up, like, at the end of the day. Okay, dad?”
We walk side by side in silence.
“So how does that new ‘school’s out’ song go?”
“Dad, do you promise not to sing?”
I respond with a fat lower lip and feigned ill-will. “Yeah, okay.”
He starts dancing… helps with the words I guess.
“Shout it loud, school’s out….”.
As he sings and shakes, a smile slowly comes back to him. His rabbit teeth look ready to bit into something.
Hopefully his life.