“Dad, dad, dad!!’
I’m accepting the thunderous applause that has greeted the projection of my latest film. I’m on stage at the Venice Film Festival.
“”Dad, dad, daaaaaddddd!!”
Through the sounds of adulation comes the plaintive, urgent call of Noah. My son needs me. I peer in the audience but don’t see him. His voice rings out from the wings. I look stage left. He points at me.
I look down at myself. I’m totally naked, on stage.
“Dad, daaad it’s 7:40.”
“We both like slept through the alarm. We gotta hurry now. I’ll get myself breakfast.”
He charges out of my room. I resist the weight pressing on my eyelids. If I close my eyes I’ll fall instantly asleep. But, dammit, I’ve rolled around so much that I’m now trapped in a tight cocoon of blanket and sheets…all of which are soaked. I must have had a fever rush during the night. I’ve been fighting the onset of some illness or other for a few days. I vaguely remember having gotten up at 2 a.m. dizzy and in pain, head and stomach. I stumbled to the bathroom for two painkillers and fell back into bed.
Noah goes by carrying his dish and a glass of milk.
“Dad, get up now. I’ll miss my bus.”
I get a flash forward to when I’ll be old and he’ll be at the outset of his adult life. I’ll stay in bed and he can run for whatever bus he needs to catch.
“Hey, Noah, can I have breakfast in bed this morning?”
“Daaaaaadddd,” says his pastry filled voice from living room.
With a sigh and a grunt I roll left and right and left again and finally succeed in loosing the shroud of sheets. As I slip out of bed a shiver runs through my body. I’m soaked in cold sweat. But there’s no pain.
No pain after having suffered pain is a fuller enjoyment than never having pain. Human nature. Or maybe it’s just because I’m Italian and we like to suffer. A tough victory is more satisfying than an easy one.
I would love a shower. I glance at the clock. Ten minutes to bus time.
“Dad, I’m almost ready.”
His mouth is covered with powdered sugar but he is fully dressed. Cute.
“I just need like to brush my teeth and yeah, uh, put my boots and all that.”
“I’m impressed, kid.”
He skips away into the bathroom. I hear water running and then Noah singing through the tooth brushing. Great kid.
I wonder if I have time for a coffee. I glance at the clock.
Noah peeks out of the bathroom, his mouth foaming.
“Dad? You have to really move it.”
“Right.” No time for coffee.
I turn back into my room, grab the clothes on the floor and start untangling sleeves from legs i the hope of eventually getting dressed. Oh, the travails of teh disorganized!
I finally succeed in clothing myself in a haphazard mix of this and that. Both of us are ready. We head out barely a couple of minutes later than usual.
“Wow. A good thing you were there,Noah, or we would never have made it.”
“Yeah, you were real slow, dad.” He chuckles. He’s been chuckling a lot lately. He must be enjoying his life.
“And you were real fast, so here we are team Barichello is on schedule.”
“Yo man! We’re good.”
We reach the bus stop.
“You”re an awesome dad, dad!”
“I wouldn’t say it if it wasn’t like true you know.”
“Even better then.”
There you go. Old age is going to be cool. With a kid like that, it’s guaranteed.