Monday, December 21, 2015

Forced to Run Errands

Greetings, WYMOP fans!

“Yeah, Dad?”
I opened the door and stuck my head into the boy’s bedroom. “I’m going to need you for a while.”
Blue eyes turned my way, and the big, retro headphones, pulled askew for the purposes of having a quick conversation, came all the way off with a sigh. “What?” he said. “Why?”
“It’s probably going to be a while,” I said gesturing toward the computer he sat behind. “You might want to tell your friends. I need you to help me with something for Grandpa.”
Handsome sat up straighter in his chair. “What? Why?”
“I just got off the phone with him,” I said, moving into the room to lean on the bed’s footboard. “He has some big stuff he wants to get upstairs into his workshop, and he asked if we’d help him. I don’t know how long it’ll be, but I assume you won’t be home for a while—we even have to make a side-trip to Home Depot on the way there to pick up some two-by-fours to use as runners on the stairs.”
“What are we moving?”
“I’m not sure. Grandpa tried to explain on the phone but . . . well, it’s my dad.”
He shot me a look of understanding. His grandfather—my father—is not the most communicative of men. Then he pointed to the computer. “But I was—we were . . .” He paused a moment, then sighed. “Fine.”
I knew what the issue was: I’d ordered him go to the store with me earlier, to do some grocery shopping and run some other errands. He’s thirteen now, and ordering him is one of the only ways to get him to spend time with me anymore. He’d been pretty good about it then, and we’d had a fine time; but now he was online with his friends, and here I was interrupting him again.
“Look,” I said. “I’m sorry. I don’t know how long we’ll be, but hurry up and get some shoes and a jacket and I’ll try to have us back as soon as I can, okay?”
“Okay,” he said, turning back to the computer to let his buddies know he was leaving for a while—maybe for the night. “Fine. I’ll be right there.”
A bare minute later he was out of his room and moving fast. He’d gotten his sneakers on in record time and was wrestling his way into a big red-and-black hoodie as he led me out to the car. I hustled around to the driver's seat and got us rolling.
“We have to stop at Home Depot, like I said.” I took a right without slowing, trying to just get where I was going and get it done. “I’ll stop in the one at the mall, ’cause it’s on the way.”
“There’s a Home Depot at the mall?”
“Yep,” I said. “But I never use it. I hate going to the mall in general, and less than a week before Christmas the place is going to be a madhouse. But it’s the one on the way, and I’m trying to have you back home as soon as possible so—”
We exchanged a glance.
“To the mall!” I said.
Four minutes later we were in the mall parking lot and circling.
“I hate this,” I said. “Tell you what: I’ll just park far away and we can walk in, okay? I’ll just try to get close to the entrance nearest Home Depot.”
I yanked the Mini into a spot and we hopped out and started hot-footing it through the parking lot. We got to the entrance and I pulled the door open letting the boy lead the way into the back of the AMC Loews theater that's attached to the mall. Going through this door, you have to cross the corridors leading to the theaters, where the ticket-takers sit, then go through the lobby and out past the ticket booth to enter the rest of the mall. The boy blew past the ticket-takers and was halfway across the lobby already when I whistled him back.
“What?” he said, throwing a thumb over one shoulder, toward the waiting Home Depot. “Don’t we have to—”
“I give this to you, right?” I said, holding my smartphone out to one of the ticket-takers. “Two online tickets to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens?”
He took my phone to scan the QR code on the screen, and his machine spat out our paper tickets. He handed them over and I looked at Handsome, who had dropped the thumb and was squinting at me in dawning comprehension.
“You told your friends you were gonna be a while,” I said. “Right?”
Because that’s the other way to get the boy to spend time with me now: lying, deceitful trickery. I should probably feel bad about lying to him like that, just to get him out of the house. Part of me does, I think.
Halfway down the hall to our theater he gave me a quick hug, and said “I love you, Dad.”
I changed my mind. I don’t feel bad at all.

Talk to you later!

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