science fiction/double feature

sometimes the truth is more wonderful than fiction.

every year, our elementary school has a movie night. the kids all huddle on the cafeteria floor on blankets and in sleeping bags to watch what is usually a pixar movie. this year, we gathered to watch rio. the boy has had a tough week at school; it’s hard being different and the kids seem to get less empathetic and increasingly nasty. and yet, the boy wanted to go. i hope i see M there, he said to me as we hopped into the mommobile.

sure enough, we did see M. M, you should know, is a wonderful little girl who has been in jools’ class since kindergarten, though this year, they are sadly separated. since kindergarten, when they vowed they would marry when they were grownups, the two have been tight friends. somehow, waching them together is like watching an old married couple; he is always doing goofy things and telling jokes to make her smile, and she pinches him when he is misbehaving.  M has a wonderful, warm heart. i genuinely adore her.

last year, the boys started teasing jools. julian and M, sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g. first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes jools in the baby carriage. and so on. mom, he told me, how do i tell M that i like her but she’s not my girlfriend?

i don’t know, i replied. do you still like her?

of course i do, he had replied.

well then, be friends. don’t worry about what everyone says. be nice to her and she should be nice back.

so tonight, jools sat on M’s sleeping bag with M and her sister. M’s dad bought a big box of Nerds and they all shared them. M’s sister kept taking the weird lollipop jools had, which was part lolly and part flashlight, and lighting it up throughout the movie. M got up a bunch of times to find her friends, jools told me, but she always comes back. (that’s okay, mom, julian reassured me.)

so tonight at bedtime, i asked the boy how his evening was.

you know mom, he replied, M is probably my best friend. she is the one person who is always nice to me and comes back to me.

i smiled. we all need that person who comes back. no matter what.