“Flying fruit,” called Sarah as she tossed a banana to her son Max in the back seat of their car.
“You’re so funny Mama,” exclaimed her delighted 4-year old keenly imaginative son, whom she’s dubbed “Banana Boy” due to his fondness for the long yellow fruit.
My preschool-aged nephew regularly engaged in make-believe playing, which currently meant he was often one of the four famous Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Before banana-eating ensued as darkness fell on the chilly day, though, the boy who likes bananas went to school:
It was a frosty morn deep in the eleventh month of the year. Trees starkly stood at attention along sidewalks and streets, having recently been stripped completely bare from the rainbow of colorful leaves they recently hung from their long brown branches. Nothing especially stood out this particular fall day, save for the unseasonably biting temps that caused people not dressed appropriately for the wintry weather to shiver with cold.
“Do you want to come to Max’s party?” Sarah asked me after I called her at 10 after nine because we’d planned to spend that Tuesday together. “It starts at 10.”
“Sure.” So I quickly changed from the grey yoga pants and old tattered-with-holes long-sleeved grey t-shirt I was wearing – that would’ve been fine if I was just running errands around town with my sister to cross things off her list – in favor of dark jeans and an attractive red cardigan I’d purchased the day prior – in order to look nicer and presentable to my nephew’s teachers and classmates. I was glad to already have my lenses in my eyes and quickly packed food and hastily applied make-up before rushing to get out the door.
Pulling up to the school, Sarah and I, along with her daughter and youngest son, waited until Banana Boy’s busy but couldn’t-be-kinder Dad drove in to meet us. Upon Mike’s arrival at Max’s school to attend the class’s holiday party, however, Sarah and Mike observed aloud that the school parking lot was oddly void of vehicles. Clue number one.
Sarah – and wouldn’t it make perfect sense if the half of Maxwell’s doting parents that cared for him during the days while the other half earned a successful living knew in advance of the upcoming celebration? – was in no way privy to such notable information. Clue number two.
While waiting outside in the parking lot with Mike and his two youngest children, my baffled-a-bit brother-in-law confessed to me he might’ve dreamed up this occasion entirely on his own. Clue two-and-a-half.
The Banana Boy’s mystified mother entered the school and returned to the nearly empty parking lot soon after with the following news:
“They looked at me like I was crazy,” she reported. “There’s no party today.”
Clue number three and there you have it: Playing pretend runs in the family.