Saturday, July 5, 2008

All the world's a stage

It began with a simple request.
"T, can you bring this out to the garbage can?" I asked, while cooking breakfast for the family this Fourth of July.
"OK," he said, in his sing-song way, always eager to help out with a task.
But the bug had taken hold.
T brought the blue recycle bin to the curb.
Then he dragged the plastic garbage can, huffing and puffing, his chicken-bone arms straining, toward the sidewalk.
I peered out of the living room window, a voyeur, intently watching this scene unfold.
To ask, "what the heck is this kid doing," as probably every neighbor is, is a mute question. You don't wonder about what T is working on. Just like B, when he was 4, the boy's machinations are part of the mystery of the universe. We can only watch.
Next up are the concrete blocks at the back of our property, earlier broken up into fist-size pieces with a hammer.
Ever the thinker, T fills up his large truck bed with five or six of these "rocks" at a time, rolling the load toward the street. Each one is lobbed into the trash.
"You can't throw those out in the trash," I yell, half-heartedly.
T ignores me.
I'll fix it later, as I always do with so many of this kid's projects.
Oh, here come the wooden planks from the back yard, each leaving an impression in the dirt alongside the house, a giant snail's trail.
T scampers into the house, looking for more garbage bags.
He pulls two brown bags from the drawer.
"I got a lot more stuff here - gotta fill these up," he says.
I let him continue, filling the bags with cut grass, twigs, little rocks.
Finally he's done.
"I gotta rest," he says, clamoring onto the sofa.
"Mom, I need a little help over here. Can you get me a drink?"
As I fill his glass with apple juice, I marvel at what I've created. And watch his skinny, brown-from-the-sun body reach toward my proffered drink, gulp it down voraciously. One drip dribbles down his chin, then the center of his chest.
Oops, I'm needed, I think, grabbing a towel.
And wait for the next scene to begin.

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