May 17, 2018

daily victories

"I am older now, I know the rise and gradual fall of a daily victory." 
-Dar Williams

I went to the kid's dance performance at the high school last night.  I have to go again tonight, and yet again tomorrow night.  I had to take something for anxiety as I sat squeezed into an auditorium seat, surrounded on all sides by people and their indistinguishable murmurings.  The printed program listed thirty dances in all and the idea of sitting in that spot for the duration filled me with dread.  But numbers two, ten, eleven, and fifteen were good, and I marked them down.  During the second half, a dance about the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake made tears stream down my face.  It did not seem to affect the c-u-next-Tuesday sitting beside me who, in the pitch-black darkness that we the audience sat in, insisted on using her cell phone at a hundred percent brightness to view the title of the next dance at roughly two-minute intervals.  I had to shield my eyes, rather obviously, but she did not notice or did not care, or both.

During intermission:

Him:  (pic)  This is what the second dance has done to my knee.  Hope it goes well.

Me:  Swollen??  Ack!

Him:  No, but bruised.  I only go on it in one part tho.  And then I get to sit there for three eight-counts in pain.

Me:  Owwwwwwwwwwwwwww.  Ice packs await you.

Him:  OK

Me:  The Bollywood thing was FUCKING AMAZING HOLY SHIT.

Him:  Ik

Me:  I'm glad you're toughing it out.  The lady next to me keeps looking at her phone while it's dark out here on full brightness.  I'm going to be blind soon.

Him:  WTF?  Asshole.

I loved seeing fat girls and skinny girls and black girls and white girls and new girls and experienced girls, plus three guys, one of whom was my kid, up there dancing their hearts out with not an ounce of self-consciousness.

The kid is fourteen and growing and usually lumbers about the house, so watching him dance was pure cognitive dissonance.  He had to compensate for the bruised knee but didn't whine about it.  It was like a trophy to him, a badge of honor.  It made him a dancer.

He's signed up for two dance courses next year, as a sophomore, and intends to dance his senior year so his picture can be up on the slide show that they played for us afterward as a tribute to the soon-to-be-graduates who danced.  He says he's going to practice a lot this summer to keep in shape.  I'm wondering how that's going to compete with Rainbow Six Siege and Dark Souls III.

"How was it?  How did we do?" he asked me in the car, as we sat and waited for the New York traffic to clear out of the parking lot.  My approach to car lines of that magnitude is to say "fuck it" and sit and wait for the rest of them to get out of each others' way.  "It was surprisingly good," I said, and then thought better of it and appended some honesty because this is me and he wouldn't believe me if I left it there.  "Frankly, I was dreading it, but there were some really good parts.  Two dances made me cry and four more were enjoyable.  The songs about hearts being full of ten thousand dreams and how some guy found his home in the arms of some long-loved girl were nauseating, but it passed."

"So you liked it.  Cool," he said.

We went through the same McDonald's drive-thru with the same creepy-ass haunted predator toy display and got him a Big Mac, and a fish sandwich for P.J., and chicken tenders for me.  We drove home and found P.J. trying to get Chester to eat some freshly-cooked ground beef, which didn't appeal to him.  That was disconcerting as hell, since we've been able to get him to eat the equivalent of one meal each day, through cooking beef stew and scrambled eggs and chicken and rice and anything else we can dig through and find in the cold cuts drawer.

On an impulse, I sat down with my chicken tenders and pulled pieces off and fed them to him, and that dog is all up into him some McDonald's, apparently, because he ate the chicken with gusto.  So we've exhausted home cooking and have moved on to fast food.  This is devolving rapidly, but last night, he needed my dinner more than I did.  It made me smile.

All I ask is for a daily victory.

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