Sunday, June 09, 2013

Looking up

In the car. On the school bus. At the cafe down the street, it's always the window seat. I'd rather sit in the back, near the racks of potato chips and postcards of local excitements, but the kids always want the window seat.

As I wait in line for bagels – one toasted the other nuked, both with butter -- the kids draw pictures in the fog they've huffed on the plate glass.

“Sssssstooooop that,” I hissed when I returned to the table to dole out the wax-paper wrapped packages.

They erase their wonky hearts exclaiming 'I love mom,' with the insides of their shirtsleeves and throw themselves into a chair.

We eat in relative silence -- one mouthful at a time -- rustling of paper and constant chatter aside. I try to ignore the wobbly table that undulates from one kid to another as if they're rowing a rickety boat with their elbows.

The morning slows down. I check my iPhone for the gazillionth time. Nothing new.

The kids' attentions are diverted by everything that passes by the window.

First, there was “the cutest, widdle, doggy-woggy on the face of the entire planet.”

Then, Joey Suchafuss strolled by with his little brother. “He must be visiting his grandfather. I wonder if they'd like to come over later and ride bikes?”

“Keep eating,” I coax. “You've only finished one quart of your bagel.”

“Oh my gosh, did you see that car! It was huuuuuge. I bet it had a swimming pool in there.”

“Do you know why the chicken crossed the playground? No? To get to the other SLIDE!”

Their mirth annoys me. I can admit it. I just want to drink my coffee in peace … and quiet. I want to read the news on my pocket-sized device.

“Eat! Don't play!” I say with the exasperated tone I usually reserve for “Hurry! The bus is coming!”

They just ignore me. They know we're in no rush. They probably wouldn't chew with their mouths closed any how.

I should count myself lucky they haven't decided the bathrooms are the most interesting part of the cafe experience. The view from our table is much more scenic than the one I'd have if I'd been forced to hover outside the men's room door (for the seventh time).

Eventually, they finish as much as they can eat. A greasy crescent will be saved and forgotten about in the pocket of my tote bag.

“Can we go now?” Ittybit asks, knowing by my expression that I just want to sit and finish my coffee. I don't care that it's getting cold.

She looks out the window and notices a crowd forming at the door. First a couple, then a gaggle of children, then people with pets on their morning walks. All of them looking up.

“Can we go outside and see what's going on?” she begs.

“Ok. Just stay on the sidewalk. And hold your brother's hand.”

Soon they are back and braying at me like animated Chickens Little.

“You need to see this. Come outside.”

“Is the sky falling?”

“No, it's a rainbow.”

“Then I'll just stay here and finish my luke-warm beverage. Here's my phone. Take a picture.”

In a minute, she comes back with a screen filled with pictures of the top of the building, blurry trees and people's feet. And one picture of a corona rainbow circling the sun, which is peeking out from behind the rooftop.

“Isn't that something ...” I say, staring into the light of the smartphone as I collect our things and clear the table.

Two women pass us on their way in as we, finally, make our way out.

“Hey, Guys!” yells my son to the ladies, close enough to them to tug on their pants' legs. Thankfully he didn't. “When you're done with your bagel, go outside and look up!”

“Don't worry if you miss it, you can come to our house and see it on my mom's cell phone.”

No comments: