September 23, 2008

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Arms wildly gesticulating, Stanley skips gaily down the sidewalk, though he is neither young nor built for such activities.  That is precisely the point.  At 6’1″ and 200 very muscular pounds, he looks the role of a man, yet, as of late, he’s been on a mission, engaging in behaviors fitting of a small boy.

Sometimes he doesn’t even realize he is doing it.  It has all become so natural.  Like when his wife sent him on an errand to Target for toilet paper and tissue, and he suddenly found himself hula hooping in the toy section.  Deep in meditation, hips gyrating, Stanley is interrupted by an elderly woman wearing a teddy bear sweat shirt emblazoned, ostensibly, with her name, MARGE, giggling with delight, “You’re awfully good.”   The spell broken, hula hoop clattering to the floor, Stanley absentmindedly walks out of the sacred circle of childhood, unable to meet Marge’s eye.

Just last week he rode his bicycle to every park within a two mile radius of his home.  He lumbered around on playground equipment, pretending he was a spy, before swinging high on the swings, feeling that moment of weightlessness at the top.  After which, he spun furiously on tire swings and merry-go-rounds, and much to the delight of a boy one quarter of his age and chagrin of said child’s mother, vomited up his pepperoni pizza lunch.  For his part, Stanley blushed apologetically at the mother and smiled cautiously at the boy. “I’m doing some homework.”

Which was true – it is homework, of the most precious and important nature.  Each afternoon, at precisely 3:30 pm, it is his duty to report to his tiny teacher, bald headed and resplendent with tubes of nutrition and loose fitting pajamas.

“Did you skip Daddy? Like a crazy man would?”

“Mmmhmm, just like you said.”

“Show me.”

Stanley goes through the moves again, and Marcus, eyes wide, giggles with delight.

“Thank you Daddy, that’s good, very good.  How about tomorrow you tell me a story about the orange giraffes.”

“The orange giraffes?”

“Yeah, the giant ones by the water.”

Stanley smiles and pats his son’s fragile hand, “You bet kiddo, you bet.”