Birds Flying Away in the Rear-View

“Cayden, how many birds are on that lamp-post?,” I point with one finger while both hands remain on the wheel.

We’re going to the dentist, and Finn’s mugging in the backseat. Cayde keeps asking what time it is, every two minutes, and we’re on time, but I know he wants to be late.

I spawned  a ‘me’. I also spawned a child with an extra chromosome, and this morning we lay in bed with arms around each other and talked, the duvet a half kicked-off thing, while we discussed the ceiling-fan.

“Daddy—I see a head and two arms and two legs.”

The ceiling fan spins, so you can’t see anything of anatomy, but Cayde’s right.

“Well, I see a parachuter, Cayde. The pull-string is like that thing you yank to unleash the parachute.”

“But the parachute should be on his back.”

“Fair enough.”

Finn sits up and bounces in between Cayde and me. He squints his almond eyes, sticks out his tongue and forces us to be silly while the ceiling fan perhaps or perhaps not parachutes down.

“Cayde—how many birds are on that lamp-post?”

Last night, I laid with Cayde in bed, answering all his questions.

(“Care for a game of chess?”

“Care for some Turkish Delight?”)

The ceiling fan in Cayde’s room has only two blades, because. That’s a different story.

“Daddy, I worry about WWIII.”

“Well, I worry about it, too, which is why I talk to people all over the world and find out what they think.”

Finn snores below in the bottom bunk, snug and happy. He’s still probably wrapped up in the remaining Cheerios I didn’t pick up last night when he littered his bed with half a box of honey nut ‘O’s.

I got ‘A’s’ in all my classes; I take IQ tests on the regular because I like to see my numbers go up. It’s the asshole part of me; it’s also prep.

“Why did William Henry Harrison die?”

“A virus. You can’t cure that.”

“And Charlie Guitane shot Garfield and wanted to have his gun in a museum case.”

“Yup—you can’t cure that either.”

Cayden brings up the KKK and Gandhi and MLK and things I didn’t knew he knew about. I grind my jaw but talk gently, the entire time. I have him hold my hand, and we share a blanket. This is hard, but I’m up for the challenge.

Driving to the dentist, the glove-box pops open and a CD falls out.

“Hey! Rural Alberta Advantage.”

I plug it into the CD player, and kiss Cayde on the head as we drive. He hasn’t heard RAA in years, and nor have I. He hasn’t heard it since he was two.

‘And all these things will pass

It’s the good ones that will last

And right here what we’ve had

Is a good thing and it will last.’
Cayde knows all the words. He sings all the words.

“How many birds are on that lamp-post, Cayde?”

I counted ten.

“Nine, Daddy”—one flew away, which I saw only in my rear-view.

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