He’s stretching in bed.
7H30 in the morning. I let him sleep in as much as I could even though it’s a school day. He went to bed at 11 last night.
“Dad, I had such a great day.”
“No kidding, ten hours of crazy fun with your cousins at La Ronde (amusement park).”
“More than that, we left like it was not even 10:30 in the morning and and and …”
His eyes are still closed, but the counting and contradicting parts of his brain are fully awake.
“….and yeah so like 10h30 to 9 o’clock, because that’s when they stop the rides, so that’s euh euh, ten and a half hours, dad.”
He stretches with a loud satisfied ‘aaaaahhh’.
“What you don’t understand dad is that like the last half hour it’s like the best because we did The Monster like four times in a row because like the guy you know who measures you? yeah, he like let us ride over and over, because most people were like leaving, you know?”
The last five minutes in therapy is where everything comes out. The last few points are when the true sports champions rise to the occasion and win. Deadlines, or a noose, focus the attention.
The last moments before death is when you realize that all that matters is love.
The cat jumps onto the bed in the small space available. She butts noses with Noah.
“Okay, Ouaga, I’m going to feed you.” He stumbles out of bed. The cat swipes at him because that,s what cats do. The two head for the bathroom.
“Aaaaaaaaahhhhh, my god!”
“Tired, cold and hungry,” he yells from the bathroom over the sound of pouring cat food, loud miauling and morning urination.
We cross paths in the hallway as I head for the kitchen to prepare breakfast and he stumbles to the futon for more rest. He looks up at me with a lazy, satisfied smile.
“Life is good, dad….”.
…and then you die.
“Yes, it is, Noah.”
The other version is ‘life’s a bitch and then you die’ , says this old dog.
Same destination, different ride.
Noah throws himself onto the futon. Total abandon.
I’m in the kitchen wondering if I should warm the day-old raspberry turnover.
“I love Melina and Vince and I love my whole family. They’re so awesome.”
Last night they got a ride back from my sister and her husband. So at 10pm, Noah was in the living room storytelling his day, surrounded by a forest of trees way taller than him. We all rustled and bent benevolently towards him. He was like a sun filled patch in a clearing. The heart of the forest.
His pleasure became ours.
I poke a finger in the turnover. Still flaky. No need to warm.
As I lay the turnover and a glass of milk in front of him, he sits up and rubs his hands in anticipation.
“Nine years old is really the best year of my life.”
“Ninety more to go.”
“No, dad, like…. .” He starts counting on his fingers.
“Ninety-one, dad, because like my generation, like, I’m sorry to say this but like we’ll live longer than you, so yeah a hundred years is like ninety-one more. Get it?”
He bites into the turnover which raspberry farts on his fingers. He licks the fruit with an expression of nostril-flaring pleasure.
Yes, life is good….and then you die. But not for a while.