Friday, August 12, 2016

Free Fiction: Dream Big

"What do you think?" Aaron nudged Garrett with his foot. They were sitting side by side on the sofa with their feet up on the coffee table. Aaron had their son, Jute, on his lap. Jute was all of four years old and equal parts feisty and sweet. At the moment, since he was asleep, he was exhibiting sweet. An hour ago, he'd been running in circles around their home, screaming at the top of his lungs that he loved trucks.

"Think what?" Garrett asked. He bumped Aaron's foot back.

"For Jute. Swimming, right? The butterfly. Maybe an IM. Freestyle sprinter." Aaron brushed Jute's bangs out of his eyes. They'd been watching the Olympics and seeing so many athletes dream big and achieve bigger made him starry-eyed. It was easy to dream about all the things the future might hold. "He loves the water. And you see how he runs around here. He's going to be fast."

Garrett leaned back farther into his seat, snuggling more deeply next to his husband. "Are we going to play this game again?"

"I don't know what you mean." Aaron sniffed slightly, lifting his chin.

"Where you suggest every sport in the entire Olympic playbook, and I tell you he's going to be too busy getting his PhD. He's too smart to fall into that kind of braggadocio."

"Water polo, then," Aaron said.

"He's already reading. He knows all his colors. He can count to thirty." Garrett poked Aaron in the side with a finger. "Maybe a double doctorate. An MD and a PhD. He'll do research, but he'll also have patients." Garrett looked unfocused as he gazed into the future only he could see. "Accolades. Honorifics. Probably a tv show."

"If he doesn't want to be in the water, maybe he'll be a track star. He practically ran a marathon tonight after dinner," Aaron said. "What's sexier? Pole vault or long jump? I don't think I want him to be a thrower. They look angry all the time. Hurdles would be good. Hurdlers look intense, but they don't look like they want to smash your face in."

"Throwers look angry because the only time you ever see them is when they're throwing, or directly before. I bet if you went home with them, they're like soft, baby kittens with their families." Garrett made a tsking noise with his tongue. "There's no money in track and field unless you're a super star sprinter. If Jute is going to get scholarships to universities where he can get his degrees, we need to teach him more popular sports. Basketball. Baseball. Foot-"

"No football," Aaron said sternly. "Don't even say that word. You know how I feel about that sport. People get really hurt. Concussions that never really go away, and the more they look into it, the worse it is."

"Yeah, I know. But think of the glory." Garrett returned to his unfocused dreaming.

Aaron shuddered and rubbed Jute's back in the small space between his shoulder blades. Jute's adorable face was slack with sleep and he looked small and fragile. Aaron did not approve of football. He'd played it, and he'd seen what damage it did. He loved the game. There was nothing like it. Well, maybe not nothing. "Rugby?" he offered. "What do you think? It's rough and tumble. Maybe a little less awful."

"Same poison, different drink," Garrett said. "But, it does look like a lot of fun. Not a lot of scholarship money in it, though. Maybe we should think about teaching him a musical instrument. Something rare so everyone will want him. But nothing embarrassing. He should play the trombone or the French horn. Not the tuba."

"What if there's money in playing the tuba?" Aaron asked. "It's got a bad rap, so nobody plays it, which means everyone is desperate for tuba players.

"He'll get compressed discs. It's too heavy."

Aaron ran his hand through Jute's hair again. "Maybe we should just start being really frugal and save as much as we can. That way he can go anywhere he wants and doesn't owe anyone anything."

Garrett leaned over and kissed Aaron on the cheek. "You make the best plans."

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