Stuart Sheldon, Whirled Wide Whimsy, typewriter on paper, collage, poetry, 11-1/2″x8-1/4″, 2003
We embarked on a proper family brunch outing Sunday … just the four of us. En route, we bought assorted cupcakes for a friend with a new baby and grabbed a strawberry one with a mountain of vanilla frosting for us.
I ambled ahead with Kai on my shoulders, grasping his piston-like ankles in a vain attempt to keep his sneakers from repeatedly banging me in the face. Swinging from his hand was a paper bag full of plastic Easter eggs that he brought along to give to random people he met. He’d carefully filled each with stickers and chocolates. Such a sweet kid.
A few paces on, Jodi approached with the half-eaten family cupcake, shoving it toward my maw as Kai’s foot blinded me. My attempted bite filled both my nostrils with frosting.
Moments later, Bodhi replaced Kai on my shoulders and we entered the diner. Seated at a 2-top, amidst the aroma of hot biscuits and strong coffee, was a young couple, acquaintances we’d not seen in a couple years. Good folks … he a doctor, she a stylish doting mom. Our kids had been at preschool together and we’d been at their home for a b-day party.
Standing over them, I said, “Hey you two. It’s been a while. How’re your babies?” “Getting big,” said the pretty Latina, looking up at me and then Bodhi who pulled at my hat, revealing impressive bedhead. “I know the feeling.” My friend smiled as the waiter approached and placed her eggs Benedict before her. I steadied my 3-yr old with one hand and replaced my hat with the other. “Well, we’ll let you enjoy your grown-up breakfast.”
We walked a few paces over to the baked goods, where I studied a golden brown bread disc with the letter “A” baked into its rugged crust. Kai dropped to his knees to play with some smooth black stones in glass jars, part of a display. “Look Daddy,” he said, holding out the rocks, as if they were shimmering jewels. “Nice,” I said. When I looked up, I suddenly realized I could not see my other child. “Where’s Bodhi?!!” Jodi looked at me and paused. “You’re not serious.” Confused, I surveyed the room again, but did not see my youngest … until Jodi showed me with her eyes that he sat on my shoulders.
I’ve done that with my keys in my pocket. Even my glasses on my face. This was the first time I did it with my kid.
As I pondered my evolving cluelessness, Jodi said, “You know you’ve still got frosting in your nostrils.” “Come on …!” “Uhhhh … yeah.”
So, the whole time I was standing over our attractive friends, they were gazing up at what must have appeared to be either:
An impressive amount of cocaine that a very sketchy father failed to wipe away before taking his toddlers to brekkie
Some truly awful crusties from a cold that one would prefer to not experience with a plateful of Hollandaise sauce
Something tells me the frosting thing never entered their mind.
Just shoot me.