6:50 a.m. I am pulled out of a light sleep by sounds from beyond my closed door. The cat food being poured into the aluminum dish. Noises of comfort as Noah and his cat rise together. He talks to the animal like to a baby, “who”s hungry, yeah you’re hungry, yeah who loves you, yeah, I do.”
I hear his Sasquatch feet thump thump towards my door. I’m fully expecting it to be blasted open. A second, two, three go by… no Noah.
I rearrange my position on the bed to peek through the crack in the door. Noah is standing just outside, where there’s a full length mirror. He’s examining himself. He slicks down a cowlick which immediately kicks back up.
Yet, he tries again with a little more insistence, but no better results. He hardly seems to care as he strikes one pose after another.
I lean out of bed and pull the door open.
He freezes in a sexy look.
“Looking good, Noah.”
“I do look good, don’t I?”
This kid is so unlike me in so many ways. In almost as many ways in which he is just like me.
He has a brash arrogance and doesn’t hesitate to find himself, smart, good-looking, talented. In that way he is my polar opposite. But at times it feels like he’s whistling in the dark
Being brash to avoid being seen for the fragile thing he truly is. In that way he would be just like me.
Or maybe he’s just self-confident.
“What time is it, kid?”
“Great. Five minutes left. Jump in bed so we can hug.”
He rolls into my bed but stays at a little distance.
“Did you have a good sleep dad?”
“Really great. You?”
“Oh yeah, I slept like I was dead. And Ouaga stayed with me all night, like she jumped in just when I went to bed and started purring so yeah, she put me right to sleep.”
“Yeah, I love Ouaga. And you know dad I had such a nice day yesterday, You know it was really great. I mean I played on the computer all morning and then I started organizing my room for when we’re going to repaint it, yeah, that’s going to be so cool. And then I won all my three matches at the Pokemon tournament and got a full-art special X card, yeah and then we came back and had my favorite supper and then we saw two really good animation films together. I especially liked the first one about the cat and the burglar. It was exciting even without any special effects or 3D stuff, you know? Yeah. Wow! A really great day.”
I have always been suspicious of such easy happiness. A Fool’s Paradise? Then again. Have I spent too much of my life in a Fool’s Hell?
“Hey, Noah, there’s a couple of minutes left, and I would really love a hug.”
“How, dad? You’re lying down.”
He has a grimace on his face. It’s times like this that I wish I had a daughter. She would hug me without protesting, I’m sure.
But, she probably would be too affectionate. That would annoy me.
Finally, I must recognize that I have a hard time being happy.
“Dad, you know the best part of yesterday? It was like I didn’t like expect anything, you know so when it sorta happened, it just like happened, you know?”
The alarm goes off. I lunge for it. Noah jumps on my back to stop me. He laughs like a demon as we battle to the ‘pioup pioup’ of the alarm. That’s the equivalent of a boy hug, I guess.
I finally succeed in holding him off long enough to shut off the annoying reminder that it’s Monday and I have a hundred reasons to get tense and miserable.
“Ahhhhh, that was fun.”
He throws himself down on my bed and stretches luxuriantly. I’m about to tell him that we need to get up and and…
…and the hell with it!
I drop back down beside him. We stretch and groan and …
“Oh yeah, we have like gym today, dad, youhou, I love gym. Awesome… .”
Be happy! I admonish myself! Be happy dammit!
Noah vaults over me and off the bed in one slick move. He shimmies away, singing.
“I’m sooo excited, I just can’t hide it, oh, oh…”.
Be happy dammit!