The air conditioner in our bedroom is a noisy piece of crap. Every time it kicked on, it woke me up. So, counting on a mild August night, I turned it off and hoped the fan setting was enough. In five minutes, the room was boiling. A far cry from the luxurious accommodation of our weekend in Philly. As I labored for sleep, I remembered walking past a woman on her cell phone saying, “Well, sure but it’s hot as fuck out here!”
The bed started to feel like a fresh pizza. Finally, my feet hit a cool spot that just might remain cool enough to drift back to sleep when the door creaked open.
“Mama?” Said a little voice.
“Go back to bed.” I said.
“My head hurts.”
“That’s ’cause you should be asleep.” I said, and groaned because the cool spot was now – hot.
“And I’m thirsty,” continued the little pecker-head, as he proceeded to climb into my bed.
My limbs were groggy as I ushered him out to the bathroom and when I turned on the light, I was astonished.
Samu must’ve grown three inches in his sleep!
Suddenly, I’m overcome by a wave of melancholia. Or terror. Either they’re growing overnight or it’s an invasion of the body snatchers. But I realize it’s really him and not an alien who busted out of an eggplant when he filled his cup with water – dumped it – filled it again – dumped it again – filled it again and took just two tiny sips.
“I don’t want summer vacation to be over,” he whimpered.
It hit me, too. “Yeah, we had a lot of fun this summer – didn’t we?”
My mind took a brief inventory: Track & Field, Golf, Baseball sleepover and let’s not forget sunburn. Nothing like walking the streets of Philly with Daddy looking like a leper.
Samu and I shuffled our way back to his bed. My steps just as heavy and sad as his. Our fun in the sun – was done.
For me, it was more than that. This summer just might be the last when my boys are “boys”. Next year, Zuki will likely be the same height as me. And Samu – should at least have a butt that’ll hold a pair of swim trunks bigger than 3T.
In the dark, I could hear his tears hit the pillow. I could tell he wanted to sing the theme song he created combining the “Titanic” and “Lord of the Rings”. He’d been humming it all summer when he was sad – when he lost an eyeball for his Mixel, when the frog at the beach got plucked by a seagull.
But his big brother was snoring away. And, that kind of ruined it.
“How’s your head?” I asked as he held my hand.
He sighed deeply and answered, “I want to go back to the hotel in Philadelphia.”
I did, too. The air conditioner was quiet.