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Endings - Anna Rosenblum Palmer
The last thing I saw was a weeping scorpion in a tie dye shirt. “Don’t leave me.” The first day of kindergarten was joyous. This sing along picnic was so so sad. It felt a little inside out that way. Leo at least wore his insides out. The morning started with a grimace from Steve, telling me that our eight day of wind and rain had freed our boat from its mooring. I squashed my inner elation. Steve was actually upset. And needed to deal with the marooned boat corpse on the same day that the IBM layoffs were being announced. He got the call from his manager while I was at the computer, making eavesdropping the only logical choice. “I see.” “No” “No” “No.” My husband’s “never say more than needed to anyone in a position of authority left me with little information. Then, “while I have you on the phone I’d like to talk to you about. Blah ba di blah blah these three letters these other four letters.” IBM jargon…must mean he was “not effected” More IBM jargon. Instead of telling Steve which of his close collegues had been laid off he was instructed to proceed with business as usual and if he didn’t get a response to go ahead and “ping” that person’t manager and if the manager didn’t respond then he should get back in touch with the third line. (See I’ve picked up some jargon over the years.) Some friends of course were “effected.” I went out then, to do more stay at home mom things, like pick up gift cards for the teachers and supplies for the class party. Important items. Integral really. Arriving at school early for the sing along Leo intercepted me. Sporting the field day tie dye (indoors due to biblical rains) and a scorpion face paint he struck a pose. That was the last happy moment. The blueberry muffin that he had requested for our (indoor) picnic treat did not meet with the scorpion’s approval. “This is DISGUSTING”, he pronounced. Then raised his fist and smashed it down on the muffin. Two table mates quickly volunteered to take on the offensive muffin but the scorpion king would hear nothing of it. If he was not enjoying a muffin no one would. I soldiered through the picnic agenda, reading aloud the book he had written. Called “the laugh” he showed me his story map with the problem noted by a lightening strike sign. What’s the problem? I asked. The bear won’t stop tickling the bird so he cant stop laughing. That sounds like a funny problem I told him. Just as I was reaching out to tickle Leo and try to bring him back from the edge I glimpsed his scowl and my hand retreated on its own. His teacher had caught the muffin smack down and was raising an eyebrow at me. We have had an ongoing dialogue this year about Leo’s moods. I would describe him as ...