“Daddy, did you make up opposite day?”
I, being the honest and forthright father that I am, said yes.
Being six, he smiled.
“Do you want to play?”
“Don’t you mean do I not want to play?”
He turned old with a wrinkled face. “Yes…I mean no.” He turned young again and full of pride, he beamed.
“Mommy is not going to work again today. Mommy doesn’t work a lot. I love it,” he said, still with that proud smile on his face, “that mommy works so much.”
I didn’t sigh. “Me too.”
“Does mommy not go to work so much because we have a lot of money?”
“Yes,” I said with all seriousness.
“Don’t you mean no?”
“Yes…No.” I ruffled his hair.
“Daddy, are you still playing opposite day?”
The day the sun set but did not rise, that round ball of blistering heat stalled high in the sky and the seconds on my grease splattered stove’s clock bleeped away the non-seconds and the non-hours all the way back to the origins of our time in ancient Sumeria where (sorry Doctor Peter Venkman) the people did not believe in Zuul. We didn’t jump on the trampoline that day. We didn’t laugh and we didn’t smile.
Instead we sat there, in silence, not talking, not playing opposite day on the day when once, (not) again, Mommy would not be gone all day at her non-job and the air conditioner kept the house nice and cool.
“Don’t tickle me,” he said, sitting on the black couch.
So I didn’t and he didn’t giggle to the point of tears falling down his face.
“Stop, daddy, stop!”
I listened and, feet kicking, he darn near pissed his pants.
I leaned over and held him, put my ear to his chest and listened to his little heart. “I love hearing your heart beat,” I said.
“Don’t you mean not-beat? When is mommy coming home?” He didn’t whine.
“Soon,” I said. She had left only an hour ago.
He smiled, considered it for a moment, then that face, that beautiful beaming face, flattened.
“I don’t want mommy to come home soon.”
“Me neither, doodles, me neither.”
We sat there, on the couch, the couch stained with Capri-Sun juice and who-knows-what-else, the remnants from dinners when mommy was at work.
“Do you still want to play opposite day?”
I smiled. “Not really.”
He put his head on my lap. “I love you daddy.”