Our quick Stater Bros shop tonight turned into meltdowns at the checkout stand. I raced to load all of the food into the bottom of the stroller as Silas relentlessly tried to squeeze around me (impossible), and Eden yelled.
FINALLY everyone was loaded into the stroller, and we were halfway out the door when I saw Silas suddenly holding a black and red electric guitar I'd never seen before. We were not in the kind of grocery store that sells toys, and I couldn't imagine where it had come from.
Just then a man with grey stubble and watery eyes leans through the doorway (Silas's half of the stroller was already out there), only half focusing, and nods, yeah, it's for him.
Silas is BEAMING. Gesturing vaguely the man says it was from Christmas -- I instantly imagine scenarios of his stumbling drunk from his house, grabbing his kid's brand new Christmas toy, and now pawning it off at the grocery store. The man can hardly stand and at some point, leans down and grabs the front wheel of the stroller while we're talking. My heart starts beating a little faster as I try to pull away. I can't move and the man is breathing liquored breath all over Silas, who only notices the guitar. He's still beaming. The guy still holds my front wheel as I push. And push harder. And still don't move. Finally, in my firmest (though wavering) voice hear myself say: Please. LET GO.
The instant he does, we shoot out of the doorway into saturated golden light. The parking lot is almost too heavily golden to be a real afternoon. And as I look back at the store to make sure he isn't following us, all I can see is the blinding buttery sun low in the sky.
It takes me until I reach the other side of the freeway to breathe through the knot of fear that instantly sprang into my stomach. And I'm still eying the guitar, imaging scenarios, like the plastic body filled with drugs the guy was trying to get rid of, or bugged with a tracking device that would lead him to our house to attack us, when I tune into Silas.
Apparently, an electric guitar is what Silas has been waiting his whole life for. He is pressing buttons that play funky riffs and bobbing his head in a way I've never seen, saying to himself over and over, "this is some sweet music" and "this is a sweet guitar, it's so sweet!" -- an expression I've never heard him use before, apparently born of holding a guitar in his hands.
So, I breathed my way home, intermittently looking over my shoulder at nothing but traffic and the sky, and watched Silas jerk and jump around as he played his guitar, his sweet sweet guitar.