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Friday, October 4, 2013

Social Sleep

"What do you mean, 'it's been 10 years?'" Gerald asked.  He winced in the intense light of the sun as equinox leaves fell around his pale, middle-aged body.
"Dad, you've been gone for 10 years.  I mean, you were there but... you weren't.  We don't know if you remember anything since you… fell asleep."  His son heaved a sigh as he watched the kids playing on the swing-set.
The younger man shrugged.  "It's the best way we could describe it."
"Billy, I…"
"It's Will, now."
"Right, Will.  I… I don't know what to say.  It's hard to believe I've been… gone for so long.  It still feels like I'm in my 40s," Gerald said.   "Sally is…"
"She's 5, dad.  We all wish you were there to help, to see her grow up.  We could have used a grandfather."
"I'm here now.  I don't want to lose another minute.  10 years…  has this happened before?  To others, I mean?"
Will nodded.  "Yeah, but it's pretty rare.  I… Sally, don't put your tongue on that!"
"She looks like you," Gerald said with a half smile.
Will laughed.  "Yeah, but she gets her attitude from her mother," he said.
A chuckle rose from his dad., followed by a pregnant stillness, made even more poignant by the laughter and joyous squeals of children.  Gerald had to change the subject.  "So, Dave's been getting me up-to-date again, you know, with things.  He got me a new phone and set me up on the Facebook.  Are you on the Facebook?"
"Yes, dad.  Everyone's on Facebook," Will said, rolling his eyes with a hint of a smirk.  "Twitter, too.  Sally, don't throw things at the other kids!  I swear, she's part baboon."
"Twitter, huh?" Gerald asked as he pulled his phone out of his pocket and started to type onto its screen.
A moment later, the cherubic child ran up to them, arms spread.  "Daddy!  Can grandpa go get ice cream with us?"  She didn't wait for an answer before she threw herself into Will with a grin that could melt the heart of any Ebeneezer.  Gerald looked up and smiled, raising his phone in front of his face.  Ker-chick!
"Awww… that's a great pic.. I've gotta share that one," he said and quickly lowered the phone back to his lap as he resumed tapping the screen.
"Of course we can get ice cream.  C'mon, let's go back to the car," Will said, but before the words had finished coming out of his mouth, he was being pulled away.  They we already at the car when Will looked up to see Gerald still at the park, staring at his phone.  "Dad!  DAD!!"
Gerald looked up only when Will had returned and put a hand on his shoulder.  "What?  Ice cream?"
"Dad, stay with us.  Don't make this just a brief awakening."

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