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My Friend's Kid Is A Hero
I unlocked this post about my friend’s kid being a real hero in a small but impressive manner. GIVE A GIFT OF THE REAL SARAH MILLER on sale, $49! Or:
My Friend's Kid Is A Hero
The other day I was driving with my friend’s kid in my new car. It’s pretty much brand new. Used but pristine.
My friend’s son was in his child seat in the back. He’s young but not super young. He’s got a personality. He’s not always sure what to do with it (join the club) but he definitely has one.
He came with me to do an errand at a business situated on a winding road. Then we drove back on the same winding road. I wasn’t paying any attention to him. Maybe I was listening to music, or to Karl Knausgaard. Kids love Karl Knausgaard. Honestly, I almost forgot the little guy was back there. Then all of a sudden he said, “I’m pretty sure I’m about to throw up.”
I looked in the rear-view mirror and the kid’s eyes were wild and his head looked unstable on his little body. “Ok, bud,” I said, “Try really really hard not to do it in the car, Ok? We are going to pull over as soon as possible.”
Goddamn, I thought, why can’t this kid have had to puke in my old car? When I drove Ruthie home from getting spayed she puked yellow foam the size of a carnival cotton candy in that car and I did not care at all.
Meanwhile I’m not seeing shit to pull over into and we were going down a steep hill with a switchback. “I’m going to pull over in just a second,” I said. “Just as soon as I can. If you do throw up — try to throw up in your hands. Or your lap!” I added, “You’re Ok, bud! It’s Ok!” because I thought I should probably say something about him rather than about the car.
I did see a slightly promising left into a small driveway but there was a lot of traffic in the opposite lane. I pictured him puking all over the car while I just sat there with my blinker on, sweating. We were in a part of town where people are not above storming out of their houses yelling “Hey, let him throw up on your own damn lawn!” It’s not likely but it’s not outside the realm of possibility, also not outside realm of possibility they’d be armed.
Meanwhile the kid was looking worse, whitish gray, starting to make hiccuping and gulping noises, and there’s just curve, curve, curve, no shoulder, no driveways.
Finally, I saw a driveway on the right, with a house way at the top of it. I figured he’d have at least thirty seconds to puke before anyone made it down and yelled at us, forty-five if they were old. The turn came up fast and I lurched into it.
By the time I got out of the car the kid was bent over in a culvert, spitting. “Oh bud,” I said. I was so happy he hadn’t puked in the car I honestly just wanted to do a jig but instead I put my hand on his heaving back. I don’t touch kids often and was struck by how close his bones were to the surface of his body.
He threw up once, into a pile of pine needles. “It’s alright bud. You’re all right,” I said. He stayed bent over, clearly not done with puking. I thought about how I wasn’t his mom, and how horrible he must feel. “Do you want me to take my hand off your back?” I asked.
“Please,” he said. He stepped forward, I stepped back. He puked one more time, a big one, and then just stayed bent over, breathing hard.
“We can wait one minute and if I don’t puke again we can go,” he said, wiping his mouth.
“Take your time,” I said. “Whatever you need. You did a good job not throwing up in my car.”
“Thanks,” he said feebly. A moment later he was getting back in.
I told him he should probably sit up front. “If a cop pulls us over we will tell him you’re sick and you need to get home. Don’t say anything. I will just talk. Got it?”
He looked so small sitting there, the top of his head just barely at window level.
We drove through town where a crowd of teenagers and middle-school age kids and a few younger kids with their parents were lined up to see Spider-Man: A Bigger Web or whatever it’s called. “Do you want to see Spider-Man?” I asked.
“No,” he said.
“I just never thought about it before,” he said.
“Ha, me either,” I said. “Anyway. I’m really impressed with you. I can’t wait to tell your mom how good you were, not vomiting in my car. Well. Unless you don’t want me to. Should I tell her or not or do you just not care?”
There was a long pause and I thought he just wasn’t going to answer. But after a while he said, “I don’t really care.”
“Well. I’m definitely going to give you ten bucks for not throwing up in the car,” I said. “Or is that not good?” I have no idea how a kid sees ten bucks. “Should I give you twenty?”
“Ten is fine,” he said.