I’m in the kitchen with the premises of a tuna sandwich laid out on a board. I’m staring at the tuna-covered spoon in my hand. Wondering why I didn’t scoop the mayonnaise first. Now I’m going to have to change spoons.
I turn. Noah has come out of the bathroom. His pants around his ankles, a wisp of toilet floating from his naked butt.
A cute butt.
“Did you hear me, dad?”
“Go wipe your butt in the bathroom, please.”
“Sure sure. But dad. I sat on the toilet and poof, it came out in not even two minutes.”
“Proof you’re healthy.”
“Yeah, it takes me more time cleaning my butt than to poop!”
Always! Takes way more effort to clean up your crap than actually creating it. Like divorce after a bad marriage, like unpaid traffic tickets, unfiled taxes, un-orgasmed women, unfulfilled potential…
I grab a clean spoon and dive into the pot of mayonnaise to scrape out the bottom.
“You know dad. There’s a kid at school, yeah, Daniel, yeah he has a hard time going to the bathroom. He’s always..what’s the word?”
I hear the toilet flush. He rushes into the kitchen.
“Wash your hands.”
He rushes back into the bathroom. I hear a whoosh of water and he charges back, waving his hands to dry them.
I bite the tender inner membranes of my mouth not to tell him to wash properly, dry your hands etc.
“Yeah, dad, so what’s the word again when you don’t poop. When you can’t poop.”
Bitchy? Full of crap? Republican?
“Yeah, yeah…so Daniel, he never poops, dad. He’s always like grabbing his gut. He’s never ever ever in a good mood. Poor kid huhn?”
“Fruits and veggies, Noah….fruits and veggies.” I throw some grapes into a small container for his lunch.
“Dad was I ever like constant-plated?”
“When you were really small.”
“Really? I was like not wanting to eat good things?”
He steals the grapes and runs away, laughing like an evil overlord.
“Noah that’s for lunch.”
“But they’re so good.” He mumbles, his mouth dribbling with the juices of popping grapes.
I look for a new container for lunch. I’m not going to rip the food out of his hands,
“Boy, am I glad I’m not contemplated anymore. How old was I dad?”
“I don’t know… 2ish.”
“Really? My mom was still here? Dad was it when she was going all funny-weird and she scratched you like a cat?”
“Pretty much. Which is one of the reasons you were constipated. Stress will do that.”
Lunch is ready: tuna sandwich, baby carrots, apple juice, grapes, chocolate cake. Food for happy crapping.
“Funny, huh, dad. You keep your poop inside when you’re stressed. Like ‘oh my nice warm poop, my friend, my little pooopppy’…haha!”
Exactly! He had given up his diaper. Then his mom went schizoid and he pulled them back on for an extra six months. Dropped them again only after she left.
“Noah, it’s past eight, we’ve got to hurry for the bus.”
“Ouuhhh yeah, sure.”
He runs to find cap, sweater, school bag.
“Dad, were you ever like consternated?”
“Constipated. Yes, as a kid, all the time. Then as I grew up, it got better.”
I had a lot of crap to deal with.
“You were stressed, dad? I mean when you were a kid?”
Silence. We bound down the stairs.
“But, dad, Nonna (grandma) wasn’t like crazy. She was nice.”
When you met her. When I was a kid she was a Valkyrie of anger and disappointment descending on me. Or so it felt.
“You know dad, I miss Nonna. I wish she wasn’t dead.”
Now that I don’t keep the crap to myself and flush it away instead.