Thursday, June 17, 2004

Magic Picnic Day!

Plant the bottle of white into the bed of the creek and let it chill. When you get back to the blanket, your companion (Marie, third date) is sitting there talking to an adorable little six year old boy with a bowl haircut.

"Well who do we have here?" you say as you kneel down to the boy.

"You're not gonna believe this," Marie says. "Tell him."

"I'm Ernest," says the boy.

"Ernest," you smile. "Unusual name."

Marie says, "That was my brother's name. He died when he was sixteen. I was seventeen."

"You never told me…"

Marie shushes you with a wave of her hand. "Tell him who you are. Really."

Ernest smiles like he's trying to hold in a giggle. "I'm going to be your son."

Before you get a chance to think twice you look at Ernest's nose and think, That's Marie's nose.

"Those are your eyes," Marie says to you.

You drop on your ass onto the blanket, staring into the boy's face. You ask how old he is.


"And when will you be born?" Marie asks.

Ernest giggles and gives a shrug that makes your heart melt. You put your hand on Marie's shoulder and she grabs it like you're pulling her out of a stormy sea.

"But…I'm your Daddy."

Ernest nods his head real big.

"And I'm you're Mommy?"

Ernest nods again. "You're my Mommy," he says, proud to know the right answer.

You and Marie just look at Ernest and start to laugh with him, occasionally putting your hands to your mouths to stifle a gasp.

"Can I have a grape?" Ernest asks.

You let him pick five grapes from the stalk and he stuffs all five in his mouth at once, making his cheeks bulge out until he sucks in air and squishes it all down and starts to chew.

"Well," Ernest says. "Bye bye."

You hold out your hand to shake. "It was nice meeting you Ernest."

Marie leans over to kiss his forehead. "I can't wait until we meet again."

Ernest giggles. Again he says, "Bye bye." This time with a wave. Then he runs across the grass to disappear into the woods.

You and Marie watch the woods be still for a while, smiling. You're not able to look at each other without filling up with a blush. You kiss a couple times, but you don't say anything. Not even when you get up to get the wine.

When you get to the creek, the bottle of wine is nowhere to be found. You spend maybe five minutes searching up and down the bank, but it's gone. You can't help but think that Ernest had something to do with it. And after he's born into your home with Marie three years from now, every time he giggles and shrugs you'll be dying to shake him by the shoulders and accuse him of running off with your booze that day three years before he was born when he came to you as a spectre.

Happy Magic Picnic Day!