i didn't want oliver to realize violet was staying home, given our difficulties last week. but then he asked if he could spend a few minutes in the garden and go drop her off at school. and i had to come clean.
he asked with a wavering voice if he could take his boots to school again. he won't be wearing them, but i told him he could. i let his hair go unbrushed. his shorts without a lint roller. i brushed his teeth instead of daddy.
there was a sad lilting to his voice as 8am approached.
brian was busy pooping again and it was after 8, so the three of us just left him behind. he showed up in the parking lot moments later. i passed violet to him and shut oliver's door as i was getting in the car. he was starting to screw up with tears a little when he asked me, a little frantically, to roll down his window so daddy could hug him. i told him daddy can just open the door right back up and hug him. and he did.
it started to sprinkle, of all things, as we got closer. i tried to keep oliver busy asking him if it was bedtime and he told me we hadn't even had dinner yet and those scrambled eggs were breakfast. i asked him why i'm so tired then. we looked for the sun and found hints of it. i had to honk my horn eight times at the man trying to back his car out as we were pulling in next to him. he looked irritated, but i really didn't have the energy to deal with a fender bender in the middle of the school parking lot. so, honk honk.
we put oliver's things in his cubbie. i didn't force him to put his water bottle in the tub for the playground. it's a new thing for end times brought on by prolonged excessive heat. he was starting to wind up a little and hugging on to me and so i said hey, let's get on to the garden, but we have to hurry because it's 8:29 and they're about to shut the door.
and out to the garden we went. i struggled to remember that the dill plant was dill. i pointed out the lambs ear and basil. the melon growing along the back wall. all the squash blossoms and squashes. we started to wind around the little path and i said we needed to consider going back in, especially because i just saw some lightning. and he wanted to look at the pepper plants. and then the well placed clap of thunder saved my ass and he said we needed to hightail it back inside.
everyone was gone. the classroom doors were closed. i asked oliver if his room was in the door labeled SUPPLY ROOM. i said, "isn't that what it says? OLIVER'S ROOM?" and he looked at me like i was crazy. kids eat that shit straight up.
and i said, "uh oh. isn't that door locked? do you know how to get it open?" and he said it's not locked and i pretended for a second it was before opening it. he bridled a little and put a hand or two on my leg before saying he wanted a teacher to come over there. and so i stuck my head in there and said, "HEY, MRS GAVIN!" and she came right over and i said, "we spent a few minutes wandering in the garden, that's why we're late. he said he would like to see a teacher and here one is!" and he sort of disengaged from my leg and started that way and i didn't dare go in for a hug and i said, as i started backing out and closing the door, "HEY, HAVE A GOOD DAY, OLIVER! SEE YOU LATER!" and i was out of there and into the sprinkles.
violet felt warmer when we got back to our parking lot, a little glassy-eyed. i thought i was going to get to see ann's nosy-neighbor head being decapitated by the back of a flat bed tow truck with another neighbor's car on top of it, but it turned out it was just an optical illusion.