Clear glass separates me from the pool area, where Monty tries to master his strokes. I decide to stay on for a few more minutes and watch his attempts before I go back upstairs to the gym and jog my 2 mile run for the day, maybe lift some weights, try to lose that stubborn tricep fat. 3 Tiny Tots, boys, stand beside me, chatting. The youngest, hardly 4 years of age, listens intently and tries to imbibe as much as he can. The older two – aged maybe around 8 or so, boast about playing truant. I cannot help but overhear their funny little conversation. For the sake of understanding – I refer to the three as the White Tee, the Blue Tee and the Kid.
Blue Tee says “I hate swimming. I had to take 2 years of swimming classes. Did your folks make you go too?“
White Tee goes “Naa, I just took one year. Then I faked an injury and skipped the other year !“
Blue Tee’s eyes go round “A whole year? How did you do that? Didnt your Mom know?“
White Tee proudly replies “Yeah, I only had to skip the first 6-7 weeks, then they wouldnt take you in at all !“
Blue Tee goes “Didnt your Mom find out? I mean, she would have had to serve you food in bed right, so didnt she figure it out???” He does a disbelieving shake of his head. Maybe thats only for the other guys benefit, maybe he’s even envious that his buddy could do something so outrageous and get away with it.
“Yeah, but it was cool. I had to spend the entire day in bed and I even got a TV setup in my room so that I dont get bored. But it only plays DVDs” says Blue Tee, a bit sadly.
Blue Tee continues “You know, my room is 3 foot by 1 foot !“. He says animatedly using his hands to show how “huge” it is. I stifle a laugh. 3 foot by 1 foot indeed. All this while, the Kid’s face flits from one guy to the other, greedily taking in all this information.
White Tee, deciding that its his turn to throw in some “grown up” information goes “Yeah? Well my house is 16 years old“. Quick as a gun, Blue Tee responds “But my grandpa built my house with his own hands“.
The Kid does an O with his mouth.
“Mine too. But my house .. my Dad and my Grandpa built it together. Actually he’s Joe’s Dad, just my Stepdad” says White Tee and does a flick of his head towards the Kid as he says Joe. I derive that the Kid is Joe.
Joe, chubby 4 year old baby Joe, speaks up for the first time. “My Dad??? He’s your Dad too?“
White Tee, shrugs “Nope. He’s my step Dad“
Pregnant Pause. The wheels seem to be churning in Joe’s little head. And then he asks – the picture of innocence.”Whats a Stepdad?”
I am speechless.
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