Today, I took him to lunch. I wasn't planning to. I had already done my errand-run for the day and was content with some homemade chicken nuggets and mac 'n cheese. But Chris was taking Abigail to lunch with "his guys" from Sensus, and Simon pleaded for a date with me. I held out till I remembered that the number of solo-lunches he's had in his nearer-to-four three- year-old life were quite few in number.
So we got socks, scraped the toothpaste residue off his sweatshirt zipper, dressed for the drizzle and headed to Wendy's. (Which, along with other fast-food joints. I find less and less appealing as I've swung into we-need-to-round-up thirties.) He wanted chicken nuggets and fries. I wanted a burger (I should have wanted a salad).
And we had lunch together. It was different than the chatty lunches I have always had with Abigail. He was intent on his lunch and on the cars driving by and the people throwing their trash away. He wanted to talk about the light fixtures and, well, that was the extent of the conversation. I got to study him from across the table without distraction. The way few things go un-noticed. The way his lack of two bottom front teeth make no difference in the way he eats chicken nuggets and french fries. I wonder if this is what the dentist is talking about when she mentions his lack of overbite. I realize that I've heard everything he has said and I haven't had to shush him once.
He smiles at me and chews a chicken nugget. And I am reminded that he is boy. And one day there will be a girl sitting across from him wondering why he doesn't have anything to say. She, for a good long time in their relationship, won't be old enough to have learned that if a woman wants to converse with a man she should do it without food or if it is a dinner conversation have pre-thought-out topics. It is at about that time that she'll also start to request (a step above prefer) the sit-down place over the fast-food joint, and find that the seeing is sometimes just as good as the conversation.