This one felt more like fiction to me. Most likely because I’m not a parent, and must therefore imagine what being a parent is like. It was nice to see that I had a good start. I didn’t get to finish it, but my big ‘reveal’ was going to be that Arthur’s parents were two men. The narrator, as you might notice, is never referred to by name, and it is written with a lot of gender neutrality.
It’d been a few years since I saw the sunrise, and as I sat at the kitchen table with my coffee I chuckled a little. The way I envisioned I must look, so much like my mother, was absolutely comical to me. I let myself grin, and soak in this moment. My life was about to change, in a few more minutes his alarm would go off, and he would come bounding down the stairs.
I was prepared to meet his needs this morning. I had put a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (without the crust), an apple, a cookie, and a note telling him how much his parents loved him in a brown paper bag with ‘Arthur’ written on it. I’d make him waffles, because they were his favorite. I wanted this morning to be as perfect as my wedding, to run smoothly but memorably.
That was when I heard it, the alarm had sounded, his feet hit the floor, and a rapid pitter patter sounded as he descended the stairs at the speed only children have the energy for this early. He looked at me expectantly with little bits of sleep dust in his big green eyes. I presented his breakfast, his face lit up. He hopped into the chair, and crossed his leg underneath him so he would look taller at the table.
“Do you want me to cut it up for you?” I always asked, knowing and fearing that one day he would tell me he was old enough to do it himself.
“Yes, please.” He knew today was special, and therefore required his best manners.
“Don’t let your pajama sleeves fall in the syrup. We don’t want you to be late.” I warned. Arthur hated clothes that actually fit his tiny frame, and normally wore one of Brian’s old long sleeve shirts to bed. All I cared was that he was warm enough, but his sleeves normally found themselves knocking over glasses or resting in food while he day dreamed at the table.
“How much time do I have?” he asked, looking at the kitchen clock but having no idea how to read it.
“You’ve got enough time to eat, brush your teeth, and put on the clothes we laid out for you last night. Then we need to go. You want to get there early so you will have enough time to learn where everything is.”
“They showed us that last week when we went to visit. There is a place for all of my things right by the door.” He said confidently.
“Your right, but if you get there early, maybe you can pick out which place you want your stuff specifically.” They hadn’t assigned spots yet.
“Oh! I hope I can get the hook by that big lizard!” Arthur said, as he began to inhale his waffles to assure he’d arrive early enough could claim it.
“Why there?” I had to ask.
“Cause it changes color! So maybe the lizard will turn red like my backpack. It was ugly last time.”
“Why was it ugly?” aren’t all lizards ugly?
“Because it was brown. It looked like poop.” And then he laughed at saying the word.
“Arthur! Don’t talk like that. It is not polite to talk about poop at the table.” Or any other time.
“Oh…sorry.” And he was.
“Alright, now go brush your teeth and get dressed, and don’t cheat. I can tell if you didn’t really brush.” Yes, I sounded exactly like my mother.
“Okay.” His voice echoed, as he had already made it up the stairs.