Have you ever had one of those moments where you wonder what you
would do if you had the chance to do something over again?
Saturday we continued work on our backyard. I think the only thing
that kept us going was that we would have Sunday off. At 7pm we put
Skylars handprints in setting concrete and sent the workers home.
As I washed his hands at the kitchen sink, Rebecca said, Want to go on
a hot date?
My first impulse was to say, I dont think we can afford another hot
date. Fortunately my male hormones took over and instead I said,
Maybe Neil and Kylin can watch Skylar.
Kylin is the other mom in our friend group. Of course
well watch him, says Kylin over the phone, her own baby talking in
the background. When will you be here?
Um, soon, I said. (We had already cleaned ourselves up
and were calling from the car phone, parked right outside her house.)
Moments Kylin took Skylar from Rebecca and asked, So where are
you going to eat? I begin to explain to her that we havent
thought that far ahead when Skylar breaks into a fit. Go, says
Kylin. Well take care of him. Have fun.
And she pushes us out her front door. I can hear Skylar screaming at
the top of his lungs. As I walk to the car, I revel in the delicious
guilt that someone else has to deal with him. Im beginning to
understand the attraction of baby-swapping, I tell Rebecca.
So where shall we eat? Rebecca asks, getting into the car.
Her question brings me back to high school when we would spend hours
driving around trying to figure out where we were going to eat.
We can eat anywhere you want, I tell her. And, tonight, it is
How about that place
That place is noisy. You just want to be around kids, dont
you? I accuse her. But its not true. She doesnt want
to be around kids. Its just its been so long since weve
been to a place that you cant bring children we dont remember any of
them. How about barbecue?
And then we both know its got to be Bobbys Backdoor Barbecue, a
hole-in-the-wall that the neighborhood once tried to shut down because you
can smell the food three blocks away. Bobbys is great. You
go in through the back, order your food, and then take it into the bar to
pick up a beer. As we wait on line, we talk with all of the other
Everett and Jones place is chintzy, says Rebecca.
I ordered there once, a lady says. I said, what is this,
the childs plate?
Rebecca and I split the two-way combo, links and beef strips, hot sauce on
the side. She shows me how to make a BBQ sandwich by spreading
potato salad on the flimsy wheat bread and then piling on the meat.
For a blissful moment, I forget what it is like to be a parent. We
are a childless couple again, enjoying each other without a responsibility
to anyone else in the world. Of course, making this realization
instantly reminds that I have a child and thus terminates the moment.
But it leaves a delicious taste in my mouth, touched with molasses.
A good dose of BBQ usually results in food coma. Topped with ice cream and
confirmation that there isnt a single movie out that we want to see,
snuggling in bed starts to sound quite fine. I think I even caught
Rebecca snoring at the ice cream parlor table. Its been a long
week. The need to stay up till dawn is, well, just a memory.
We get back in the car and the digital clock reads 9:17.
We cant pick up Skylar right now, I tell Rebecca. Neil
and Kylin are going to laugh at us.
Why dont we nap in the car for a few hours and then pick him
up? suggests Rebecca.
Do you think theyd noticed if we just left him there all
night? I say.
Rebecca thinks about it. We could stop by in the morning,
hair dishelved, wrinkled clothes, and just tell them we havent been to
I think theyve already tried that one on us, I tell her.
The light is on in their house as we pull up. We could sneak in
through the back, I say, but we both know that will take too much
Rebecca starts to laugh, and then I join her.
Oh, we are pathetic, she says, wiping away a tear of laughter.
Her statement makes we wonder. Are we pathetic because we cant
even pull off dinner and a movie anymore? Or is it because our hot
date really started a week ago with the first shovel into the ground?
Such is love.