Please Play

I can hear him walking up the stairs, the smallest feet in the house making the biggest sound.

I keep my head bent toward my laptop.

I hear the jangling of his wrestling with the door knob. Then he gives up. And, truthfully? I’m glad. There’s a lot to get done after a week away.

“Please play wit me?”

His words are muffled by the thick door. But I hear him.

“Not right now,” I shout. “I’m working.”

Half an hour later he returns, fumbles with the knob again, gives up again, yells again.

“Not right now. I’m still working.”

The third time his tugging and turning gets him in, a smile beaming from brown.

“Why you work?” he asks.

There’s no easy answer for a four year-old. And how do I communicate the answer to a boy who speaks without most definite articles and subordinate conjunctions?

I try distilling free market capitalism into Tonto sized bites.

“I work. People give Daddy money for work. I use money to buy house and water for bath and food.”

His eyebrows scrunch for a moment. He stares off as if reading a nearby teleprompter slowly scrolling translation. Then his face goes slack with solution.

“My no bath tomorrow.” And by “tomorrow” he means “today.” Time is hard. “My no bath tomorrow and…my no hungry. Please play outside!

Well, you have a point, I thought.


And that’s why I haven’t returned your e-mails yet.

Blame him.