I was wrapping up work when I got a call from Daniel’s school. That’s never a good call. They never let me know Daniel’s on the honor roll or that he’s managed to get “green” all week for good behavior in class. This call was no different. It was one of the teenaged supervisors at Third Base, his after school program.
“Okay, we didn’t want you to worry…” he started. For those who don’t have children, here’s a message from those who do: never start a conversation with those words. Ever. I was imagining death, paralysis, major scarring at the very least. It turned out Daniel had fallen off the ladder to the slide and cut his lip open.
“It’s okay, but there’s a lot of bleeding…” Again, not a good thing to say to a parent. I gave Meka a quick call in DeKalb and jumped in the truck to pick Daniel up.
By the time I got there, the bleeding was stopped. The head supervisor apologized for the call (I believe she is a parent) and I had to sign the typical school form that I, [state my name], promised not to sue the Hell out of everyone in sight. Daniel was sitting with red-rimmed eyes and an ice pack against his lower lip. It was roughly the size of a Hacky Sack and had a small V shaped cut where he had bit down on impact.
“I don’t think I’ll be able to go to school with a bloody lip,” he mumbled through the paper towel. Daniel made a point of moaning softly (but distinctly) as he struggled to walk to the truck, close the door and put on his seat belt. I didn’t say a word. We pulled out of the parking lot and Daniel asked if he could play the Wii when we got home.
“I don’t know, Daniel,” I said. “With your bloody lip and all, I just don’t know.” Daniel pointed out he could hold the ice pack with his teeth and use both hands. I pointed out that if he could use both hands, he’d probably be okay for school in the morning. There was a long moment of silence from the backseat as Daniel weighed the pros and cons. Ultimately video games won out over a sick day from school. We split the sympathy difference with a cherry flavored Alligator Ice from the gas station.
“But with a bloody lip, I don’t know how I’ll be able to open my mouth in class,” he warned me.
“Maybe that’s for the best,” I replied, thinking that would be one less phone call I might get tomorrow afternoon.