The following is NOT a true story and has absolutely no foundation in truth. My son Landon did some wild things as a little boy (and even as a bigger one) but, never, ever anything like this. This is entirely a fabrication made up for this weekend’s challenge.
All rights reserved. Copyright Kathy Larson 2010
String and Sticky Tape
by Kathy Larson
I sent him to his room for being bad. All morning he had pestered after me.
“Can you take me to the park? I wanna play at the park.”
“Later,” I’d said initially, “I need to get the vacuuming done.” Then I steered him out of my way to a pile of colouring books.
This scene was doggedly repeated about every five minutes. “It’s later,” he’d say, “I want to go to the park.”
“I can’t right now.” I’d just as doggedly reply. “You need to be patient. Go play with your cars.” Eventually, he started to whine. Then my reply became: “If you keep that up, we won’t go at all.” So, he became quiet. So quiet I thought I’d better check on him.
There was a mural drawn all the way down the hall of kids playing at a park. He’d used multi-media — wax crayons, pencil crayons and markers. For a five-year-old it was pretty good. Still, I thought I was going to have a fit, right then and there. To my credit I didn’t yell, I didn’t hit. I simply took the red marker from his pudgy little hand and said very quietly, “Go to your room. Now.”
The look on his face told me he wasn’t sorry. Not one bit.
I stood back to take stock of his ‘artwork’. There were trees, flowers and grass. M-birds flew overhead and stick dogs chased after balls thrown by little stick boys. There were swings, and teeter-totters and jungle-gyms. He certainly knew what he wanted. Despite myself I smiled. I hated that I would have to wash it all off. But our rented apartment wasn’t a Greek palace and a fresco would not be appreciated by our landlord. I sighed and turned away, heading for the cupboard where I kept the pail and cleaning supplies. As I ran warm water into the pail I started thinking about how the morning had gone and how I had disappointed this little boy, my son, who wanted nothing more than to get out of this boring little box of rooms and find some space to move and run and breathe and live.
To hell with it, I thought, the art could stay there for a few days, it actually brightened the place up. I’ll make him a surprise — I’ll pack us a picnic lunch and we’ll go to the park and play and just be. Out came the peanut butter and some apples, a couple of boxes of raisins and a thermos jug of Koolaid. I grabbed my novel and a blanket and had everything organized by the front door. Down the hallway I went to his bedroom. Knock. Knock. No answer. He must be asleep, I thought as I silently turned the handle and gently pushed the door open.
I wasn’t prepared. Not at all. He was standing on the top of the dresser one foot poised on the sill of the open window. There was something hanging from his back, it looked like cloth. In my surprise I did not comprehend that he had cut up his top sheet and that this was what fluttered gently around him, stirred by the warm breeze coming in from the open window.
“What are you doing?” I asked in a small, still voice. I was terrified. I knew exactly what he was doing. “Don’t move” Again, the defiance in his eyes, but this time also an accompanying sadness. “Please.” I added.
I walked calmly across the room stepping on bits of string and sticky tape that stuck to the bottom of my sandals. The tape made a soft ripping sound as it tore up from the carpet. I took hold of his hand and turned him towards me.
His bottom lip trembled as I pulled him close. “Those are some very fine wings you’ve made,” I said as I opened his arms wide to admire his handiwork. He jumped forward into my arms his wings surrounding us both. I breathed, then smiled.
“Come on,” I said, ” Let’s go.”