it's easter sunday. the whole lot of us are lazing on a fully-reclined, double-futon watching flipper, the original, on a 17 inch computer screen that's sitting across the room. we are laying on pillows and each other and under covers and watching with varying levels of attention and interest when anthony broke our collective stupor by calling out something that he calls out every time we watch a movie; show-pop.
show-pop is what anthony calls his father's generously-buttered and liberally-salted stove-top popcorn. rare is it that we watch a family movie without me making a bowl. being one of the ones closer to sleep i mumbled in return, "show-pop in five anthony." after a few moments anthony slid off the bed and left the room. he returned four minutes later with a vaseline container in one hand and the contents of the container in the upturned palm of his other hand. he stepped right up to the futon so his belly touched my feet hanging off the edge of the bed and said a single word; sticky. the E on the end of sticky was accented, severely, coming our phonetically more like stick-EEEE. after sitting up and looking at the soiled hand and watching him close and open the fingers a few times to better demonstrate the levels of sticky we were talking about, i concluded this sort of sticky warranted an extra-strong E on the end. while the sound of his clenching and unclenching fingers was not audible to the rest of the room it sounded like a legion of locust in my ears. i studied his face and when he finally raised his eyes to meet mine, i stood up and we wordlessly walked out of the room. the fingertips of one of my hands sat safely on the crown of his head guiding him to the bathroom. he went willingly offering no fight or obstinance.
shortly after returning to the futon anthony said he wanted a drink. not having yet gotten too comfortable or re-invested in the movie, i went to the kitchen and returned with a bike-bottle full of water. anthony took a long pull from the bottle and then walked out of the room with it. a moment later i heard a noise and then anthony walked back into the room, without the bottle. i asked him what he did with it. he pointed to the hallway. i stood up and told him to show me. he turned and toe-ran into the hall, stopping in front of the laundry chute. he turned to me and then stabbed a finger at the closed door of the laundry chute. i picked him up and started down the stairs. i lectured him on the way down about how the laundry chute is for clothes and not for beverages, shoes, toys, books, car keys, telephones, hair dryers, hangers, or his father's eyeglasses. once in the basement i opened the the laundry chute door and made him climb in and retrieve the bottle. i then carried him back upstairs. when i set him down he said, show-pop.
no show-pop. boys who throw containers of liquid down the laundry chute get no show-pop.
i then laid back down on the futon. five minutes later i realized anthony wasn't in the room. bella and alex were watching. marty was dozing lightly. i got up and walked down the hall. no anthony. i walked downstairs. the signs began, remarkably, in the foyer. something was amiss but i couldn't place it. as i turned towards the kitchen, the sensation grew. before i actually entered the kitchen i realized what was bothering me; i was walking on a growing collection of popcorn kernels scattered on the floor. the cupboard door that holds the popcorn was open. a full container of redenbacher kernels radiated from the pile that had been poured on the floor just outside the cupboard door (all the way into the foyer as noted). additionally, a full container of olive oil had been poured on top of the pile of popcorn, and like the corn itself, had also made its way to other parts of the kitchen, most notably inside the cupboard which held, among other things, baking potatoes, cloves of garlic, and yellow onions.
i surveyed the kitchen. standing in the opposite corner with his hands behind his back was the 2.5 year old anthony. standing at attention so, he looked like a gourmet chef waiting for an evaluation from a superior or reviewer. his face was alert and attentive. then he said one thing: show-pop.
wordlessly, i walked to the boy, picked him up, and carried him under my arm like i would a rolled-up sleeping bag. i walked like this past the three movie-goers who paid me no mind. i deposited anthony in his crib and returned to the kitchen to begin the reclamation. midway through i realized i was softly humming to myself. i'm not sure what the tune was but kneeling there on the tile, meticulously teasing popcorn kernels out of crevices and sopping up olive oil with paper towels, i sounded like an old lady waiting for a church service to begin. and truth told, that moment stands as the closest i've ever been to religion.
and in case i didn't convey the timeline well, all of the above occurred in a twenty minute time-span.