Thursday, 7 October 2010

it all started with a car

two weeks ago Muffin rang me and asked me if i would be willing to make a toy.

i hadn't been challenged in a while, so i decided to bite.

the bite came in the shape of a car. he asked me if i would make a blue car with red racing stripes for his son. i obliged, immediately invisioning how i was going to create the most perfect, woolen piece of machinery ever for his little boy. a stuffed-car that would blow his mind and make him remember forever the day that his dad had a toy made specially for him because he loved him and wanted to make a positive change towards his father-type role.

after many days of work and a lot of procrastination, i finished it last night. the general aim was to finish it whilst Muffin was here so's he could give it to Ryu himself, but things came up and i couldn't, so i told him i'd hand-deliver it before i came home.

today was the day. i rolled-over in bed this morning and stared at the car and imagined the tiny version of Muffin holding it and loving it. i imagined how the scene would play out when i delievered it to him. i wondered if i should just drop it off, ring the doorbell and run, so i wouldn't have to see him and be faced with seeing Muffin's son all by myself. i wondered how he would react to me and how his grandmother (his full-time carer, more-or-less) would react to me. i worked myself up into a little frenzy before finally rising from bed for a lunchtime playdate with Emma and her little man.

Emma and i met years ago. we met in Spanish back in like, seventh grade. we never talked THAT much and then, suddenly, after i left for england, we started emailing and talking LOADS. i hadn't ever met her son and was excited to meet the little ball of almost-three-year-old energy as i sat and awaited their arrival at the local Shari's.

they arrived and he was immediately excited, shouting my name and showing me things. instantly, i decided i would go and give the car to Ryu in person. that no child could be so intimidating that i couldn't simply go, toss a stuffed toy at him, and leave in a massive emotional frenzy.

the playdate ensued with a great deal of hilarity and fun and afterwards i made my way home to photograph the car and begin the walk to Ryu's house.

i walked and wondered if i was making the right decision. i have been very emotionally fraught the last several days and i worried that seeing this little carbon-copy of Muffin would send me over the edge.

my ipod soothed me with Andrew Jackson Jihad and Billy Ocean until i made it to the park. i tossed through my memory the photos that Muffin had taken at that very same park with Ryu a mere ten days earlier. my mind was caught up as i passed one of the many jungle-gyms housed in the park where i saw a woman i was CERTAIN was Ryu's grandmother. i didn't want to say anything until i was positive though, so i walked to their house, knocked on the door to find no response and walked back to the park.

it seemed she knew who i was before i said anything, as she walked up to me and said hello. i approached them and was suddenly stopped in my tracks when i realized i was within reaching-distance of Muffin's child. one of the three little people he had made without first discussing it with me. i was there, in broad daylight, with no way to cope with the new set of emotions my mind was creating. i was there, with nothing but a car in my handbag and a pink zebra-print cardigan on. i approached them with absolutely no idea what i would say or do. i went blindly into that foreign territory with what felt like a crumbly spine and an ocean's worth of water on the palms of my hands.

i introduced myself and pulled the car out of my bag and Ryu immediately hopped off the jungle bars and snatched it from me, telling me it was amazing and dancing around on the rocky playarea with his new car-friend. he then came up to me and asked if i wanted to come over to play...

again, i stopped. i had to catch my breath and realize that this was okay and that i could do this. i could spend time with this little boy. he's not a threat, he's not evil, he's just an innocent kid who wanted to play. i looked at his grandmother and she said i was more than welcome to come over. i tried to imagine all the things that could go wrong if i went over and couldn't come up with one so i took a deep breath and said, 'okay.'

we walked and he told me about his day at school and asked me what my name was. i told him it was Danie and he said it was pretty before going off on another tangent. as we walked i spoke to his grandmother about his education. we talked about what school he goes to and she began to tell me many details about his educational upbringing that i hadn't expected her to be candid about.

we arrived at the house and INSTANTLY he had to show me everything, everywhere. he introduced me to his cat, Juice Box (ps. best name EVER for a cat, or what?), showed me his halloween costume (he's going to be a zombie, which immediately prompted me to have a little "zombiegasm" right there in front of that child), pointed out his piggy bank and then took me to the lounge where he pulled out ALL the bones designated for Halloween decorating from their plastic Tupperware home.

he continued showing me things and posing for photos as i talked with his grandmother about England and his upbringing and their cat.

THEN it was five'o'clock and Ryu wanted me to help him water the garden. not his grandmother. me. he took my hand and dragged me outside to show me his bicycle and the hose. he watered and wouldn't let his grandmother help with anything. anytime he needed help, he asked me for it.

the rest of the hour-and-a-half was a flurry of "look at this!" and "hey, come help me with this!" before he settled on asking me if i was his dad's girlfriend and telling me he loved me.

now. i really had no idea what to do with this information. this child comes into my life and suddenly he loves me? i know children are quite rash with their decision-making and i also know that he most likely didn't love me for realsies, but this, my boyfriend's son, telling me he loved me. it made my heart go KABOOM and my head say to me that this was going to be okay. all of this, the kids, the divorce, the visit to america, it is all going to be okay.

as i was preparing to leave he stole my camera from me and took photos of Juice Box, Godzilla, his grandmother and me before saying he wanted to come visit and asking me when he would see me again. i promised i'd stop by again on monday after printing out some of the photos for him.

i walked away after shaking his hand and felt okay. i felt a massive weight off my shoulders about the whole thing.

i texted Muffin to notify him that i had spent the last hour-and-a-half with his son, deliberately being cryptic so as to manipulate him into a phone call, a trap he fell in STRAIGHT away. i told him about the playdate and about the conversations i had with Ryu's grandmother before he had to go for workies-related things.

i arrived home and texted him to say that i love him and that i love his son.

he wept.

the end.

p.s. please see photos from playdate with Ryu.


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