At the beginning of a snow-free ski week, Daddy and the twins set out to walk Quincy. Passing through the playground, the two of them start climbing on the magic carpet (a set of bars). Some game starts. They move the climbing to the cupcake (a different set of bars). Another game sputters to life.
C (pointing to the big playground): Fisher, I’m going to the big playground! Do you want to come?
F (still hanging upside down on the cupcake): Yes, Cory! Wait for me, Cory!
C (starting to run): Catch me, Fisher!
The chatter is nonstop as he chases after her. Daddy watches from afar while they pretend this and play that. Quincy waits patiently. Swings. Spinnner, Tire swing. Climbing structure. Daddy phases in and out as she becomes something and he, something else. They laugh and laugh. Not every day is like this, to be sure, but when one is…
uincy licks Daddy’s hand. Daddy takes his eyes off the kids to smile down at her.
D (patting her head): Quincy, today is a great day to be a twin, but, I’m sorry, girl, it just isn’t a great day to be you.
She sits back down as if in understanding: she’s not finishing this walk.
C: Daddy, do we have to go to the Y today? I want to stay with you.
D: Yes, you have to go. I have to walk Quincy, go for a run, and then work, so…
F: Oh, but can we walk Quincy with you because…
D: Nope. It’s time to head to the Y.
C: How far do you run when you just go out there running?
D: Oh, maybe like two miles.
F (cluelessly impressed): What!?
D: Yah, not that far. I’m old, guys.
C: I can’t run two miles. That’s too far. My legs would get tired.
D: Maybe right now, but not when you get older. Cory, did you brush your teeth?
She shakes her head up and down. Daddy stares. She shakes her head back and forth. Daddy points. She heads toward the bathroom.
Later, Daddy is out on the street, headphones on, huffing and puffing away. At one point, Daddy jumps a little, startled mid-Beyonce as something appears unexpectedly at the corner of his eye. Two girls run by at a good clip above Daddy’s pace. It’s ski week, the schools are out, but there is no snow. There probably isn’t a huge rush to Tahoe. Daddy watches the girls from behind, deciding that they don’t look much older than Cory, even though the difference must be years. Cory is so tall now! Their leg muscles, much more developed than Cory’s, indicate that today is probably not their first day out for a run. Daddy thinks about all the women who have outrun him over the years, Kelly and Gloria at the short distances in grade school, Traci, Beth, Donna, Kelli, Vicki at the longer stuff in high school…wait, could these girls be high schoolers? No. Wait, could they be?
How old does someone have to be to start jogging safely? The gap between the two girls and Daddy widens rapidly. Daddy smiles, thinking of the not too distant day when he’ll be out here eating Cory’s dust.
It’ll take Fisher “I don’t like to sweat” Bug a few more years to get into the running thing, but Cory “Bring it” Bee will likely jump in with both feet. Daddy’ll wish he could run like a girl, already does in fact.
Daddy glances over, noticing for the first time an older woman sweeping a nice coating of little pink and white flowers from a neighbor’s trees off of her driveway. (It is winter in Los Altos after all.) She’s staring at Daddy, holding the broom still for a moment and shaking her head, a look of disgust on her face. What? Daddy looks back at the girls, fading away, then glances back at the woman. No! Wait, no! It’s not… I was just… It wasn’t anything… Totally innocent… The woman turns away and resumes sweeping as the apparent dirty old man lumbers on by, more than a little embarrassed.
Not that it would have helped had the runners been boys, but, um, where’s a gay pride T-shirt when you need one?
F: Are those flowers in Dilly and Dally real or just fake?
D: They’re real.
C: What!? Dilly and Dally take a year to come back here for Valentine’s Day. How do those flowers stay, um, good?
F: Yah, how come that water doesn’t just get dry in there?
C (whispering): Because *you* put new water in there? And new flowers?
F: Oh, thanks, Daddy.
C (looking thoughtful): When did you do that, Daddy?
D: Last night, after you went to bed. (Pointing.) See, I made that bouquet for Papa. And, I made that smaller one for myself, and then I filled up Dilly and Dally and put flowers in there for you.
F: Thanks for doing that, Daddy. That’s so nice.
Daddy watches Cory’s gears continuing to turn.
D: Hey, guys, did I tell you…
A quick change of subject is the only thing for it.