It's been a relaxing sort of weekend. I've worked, but I enjoyed myself. I guess the story of the day would be this: I watched a local lawyer and her husband walk through the store. As usual, she did not walk with him, but ahead of him, giving the impression that she was not with anyone at all. She seemed irritable and short with him when they came to the register. Their son stood off to the side as his mother harangued the husband, who had pulled out his debit card. She complained that she did not want him to use that card, that she was sick and tired of paying his bills. She pulled a wad of money out of her purse to pay for the transaction, complaining the entire time. He stood there looking at me with an embarrassed sort of half smile on his face. After paying me, she thrust money into his hands, complaining still. I stood there with their change, $5.01 to be precise, and she was complaining at him still, not noticing. The man extended his hand, and so I gave him that change, which served to anger her all the more, and I felt as if I'd done wrong. She sailed out of the store in front of him and her son. I'm sure it was not a pleasant ride home. I felt sorry for them all. I'm not sure what the man does for a living, but I've met him before. He is quiet. Seems like a sensible person, practical. This is a family who lives extremely comfortably. Yet for all that they have, what stands out the most is what they do NOT have. And can you imagine anything worse than being trapped in an unhappy marriage to a lawyer who handles divorces? Oy.
After work, Tim picked me up, and we went to a bonfire, and we visited, and I spent a large portion of the night sitting in a lawn chair with a little boy on my lap, a tired boy who was talking a lot simply to keep himself awake, I think. His head leaned into my shoulder as he talked about school and karate, and how smart he was and how strong he was, and I agreed with him again and again, laughing to myself. We talked about chicken nuggets and what we like to dip them in, and although I have not had a chicken nugget in years, I remembered that I liked them with sweet and sour sauce. He helpfully explained to me that he could do my homework for me, because he was quite good at homework. He wouldn't charge me anything for this service, and I volunteered to buy him ice cream for his help. This interested him. What if he did my homework every night? Pausing to think this over carefully, I said, "Well, I guess that I'd have to take you out for ice cream every night then. Considering this, he felt it fair enough. We grew quiet as I leaned my head back to watch the sparks spinning up into the black starry sky. "Do you suppose," I asked him, "that stars are just the sparks from all the campfires that there ever were? That maybe the sparks just went up to the sky and stayed there? Maybe that is why there are so many stars." His scientific little boy mind decided quickly that this could not be so. He's in second grade after all.
My children are all grown up, and I'd didn't realize how much I missed these things until last night, as I sat in the cool night next to a huge bonfire, savoring the feel of a little boy's head against my cheek, listening to a small child's view of the world.