I walked in the door and Pops is waiting with that beer gut and that beer smile. He likes to toss a couple back after work, I gots no problem with that. He's the type of guy that could do that, and it wasn't in the "alcoholic Dad drinking in the middle of the day" kinda way. He just liked a couple of afternoon beers, and he never let it create disaster. I walked over to him and stuck my belly out as far as I could. He tapped it gently, and his finger pokes felt like raindrops.
"Gosh, kiddo, you're looking more and more like me every day."
Man, he was the coolest. Never a bad word, never a dark cloud, never turned the lights of hope off. He was Steady Eddie, calm storm in the South Seas. He made my personality want to exhibit itself. He took me inside myself for exploration. I adored this man, this legend, this sunshine.
"Listen, next Sunday you're gonna have to drive me and Rick to..."
I reached into my pocket and thrust the golden tickets in his face.
"...the Red Wings game!!!"
He grabbed the tickets and looked at them.
"Nice, kiddo. And they're playing the Avs, great game."
I did a somersault. A real one, not the interior kind.
Pops looked down and laughed. He had the world's greatest laugh. I always imagined there was a great place where laughs went once they fell out of our earshot. I imagined they flew somewhere high above and gathered at some sacred ground. This place has so many laughs that they had to expire the old ones after a while to make room for the new ones. They had a whole system set up, categories upon categories of laughs. "Robust, over here. Sly, over there. Innocent, there. Annoying, way back there. No, a little further. More still. A few more feet. There you go." Pops' laugh would stay in this laugh mecca longer than most, purely based on the integrity of it, the honesty of it, the density of its' mass. Yeah, Pops had the greatest laugh.
He turned and walked into the kitchen. I rested down on my back and looked up at the ceiling. I'm not sure why I loved lying on the floor so much. I think it's because I like doing things mostly undone.
My mind wandered to the glance Jenny and I shared earlier in Math class. The "Jenny Glance", as we shall now call it. It's amazing how something so simple can make my insides rearrange. Does she realize her power? I have a feeling she doesn't. What does she do when she gets home? What is she doing right now? Does she masturbate? I heard that most girls don't. That's weird. I mean, I can't stop. I know it's different for girls, but how? Physically, what's the difference? I've heard that it's more about emotion for them. Hell, I'm as emotional as they get. I feel things so deeply sometimes that the pressure splits my head. Too many pounds per square inch, or whatever it is that happens when you dive too many miles below the surface, like in "The Abyss". But what is she thinking right now? I know we're set up for the movies Friday, but did that glance spark a minute beginning of something larger in her head? Is there all of a sudden a picture of me in her head, maybe way at the back? So far back that she hasn't even computed it yet? Will it, I, start to make my way to the front of her head, the part of the brain that recognizes this particular thought needs to be immediately re-directed to the heart?
Pops rolls back in, laughs at nothing in particular, new beer in hand, and kicks me in the feet.
"What are you thinking about, Rodan?"
I think for a second that I might tell him, but I just say "nada mucho" and sit next to him on the couch. He puts his arm around me and grabs the remote, turns on the telly.
"What time is the game on?", he wonders aloud.