The long goodbye

[from the weekend]

I make him do it against his will. I make him hold the pencil, although I skip the pencil grip to correct the manner in which he grasps it.

I edge him towards my make shift chart, a soft shoe shuffle but in bare feet. He faces the chart but his chin drops down so that his eyes can avoid it.

“It's going to be fine dear,” I coo. He raises his arm stiffly, like a lever and draws a wobbling line through 'Saturday'. This is everyone's visual cue that we are on the last day of the holiday. Sunday has a arrived. The last 24 hours before they return to school.

Luckily for me, I learned a long, long time ago that transitions, the passage and concept of time, were a challenge. A week's holiday was fabulous but at the end, a monumental weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth would ensue. People would make accusations that they might, or might not regret, based upon a faulty concept of time travel. Wild angry rebukes about theft of time, larceny of holidays, and kidnapping of leisure by some willful nere do well, would whirl around the house.

I attempt the usual platitudes, the joy of seeing 'friends,' a quick spiel about what constitutes a friend, the pleasure of being back in a familiar class, adding verbal clues to the visual ones in that room. He is not impressed and snuggles back into my dressing gown burying his face. He nuzzles and giggles the plumbing, holding excessive quantities of Ensure. Such affection. He mutters into the material, “but I stay home,' he pleads. I lift his lovely face, smooth his troubled brow and utter more reassurances, that all will be well. His nose crinkles with annoyance, “no I wanna stay home and play Gameboy forever!”

Hmm. Definitely time to go back to school.

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