Through The Garten And Out The Other Side
It went by faster than it seemed it was going while it was happening, which is the way of time travel as I understand it. The only part of it that seemed to be zipping by were the minutes every weekday morning as I rushed to get the kid fed and out the door, a routine which over time made time feel like it was dragging by even though it was slipping right through my fingers. Strange stuff, that time.
Our school year started out about as smooth as the business end of a belt sander, but in the end, it turned out pretty swell. We lucked out getting the kid into a good school in a class with the kind of teacher where you’re just like, holy crap, these big people who teach little people are amazing people. As an added bonus, we got to make friends with some other parents. And best of all, the kid excelled all over the damn place. Watching him demonstrate all his new abilities - reading, writing, art, math - was absolutely like watching a flower burst and bloom. It’s an oft-used metaphor, which is why I turned it into a simile; that and the fact that it’s true.
Hell, he already knows as much Spanish as I do after four years of “studying” it. By the end of the first half of first grade, he’ll totally have surpassed me on that front. Believe me when I say that we feel very fortunate how this whole school thing has worked out so far.
I had been meaning to go have lunch with him at his school all year long, but time being the tricky stuff that it is kept fooling me into thinking I still had plenty of it to waste. Finally, last week, realizing that the close of the school year was barreling down the tracks, I figured I’d better go on and get around to it if I ever wanted it to happen. I halfway expected him to be a bit embarrassed to have his old man show up on his turf like that, even though I’d asked him beforehand if it’d be cool with him if I stopped by. When his class marched out of their room like a line of ducklings, I was pleasantly surprised when his face lit up at the sight of mine. He held my hand all the way to the cafeteria.
“Is that your dad?” some kid asked.
“Nah, I’m just some dude.”
You ever sat down for a meal with a table full of kindergarteners with barely a week until summer vacation? The table, the floor, the whole building quakes with energy.
Yesterday on the last day of the school year, he told me that he wanted to “look good.” He didn’t expand on what he meant by that, but I helped him comb his hair up nice and handsome before we walked out the door. I’ve tried to use the morning drive to school to expand his musical education, so I had London Calling going in the CD player. He was a bit quiet back there in his seat, which wasn’t totally out of character.
When we arrived at school, there was a line of cars at the curb just like every morning. Usually, he waits until I get up closer to the door before unbuckling himself, but on this morning, the morning of the last day of school, he unsnapped it as soon as I came to a stop. His eyes were fixed on something up ahead. He grabbed his bag, hopped out of the car, and ran up the sidewalk without his usual wave, just in time to greet a little girl stepping down out of the truck in front of us. They walked into school together, talking and laughing.
His hair looked great.