I told him to let go. It will eventually wash off, I said. Yes, dad, I know. This is the worst thing that could have happened. I need to be inside in fifteen minutes, he responded. The swimming contest starts in thirty minutes. I wanted to say, relax, but I was thinking about how I would have reacted when I was eight years old. I would have panicked. I would have cried, maybe not, but I would have told my dad to drive back home.
Let’s just try to wash it off, and we’ll see, I said. He nodded, walked away, without saying a word. Every day, I am looking at him, growing up in front of my eyes. I remember what it was like being at his age, being him, looking frustrated, back at his dad.
He steps closer to me, and I can see that everything’s gone. There you go, I tell him. Now, you’re ready to compete. Nobody will ever notice. I can see him smiling, finally. It’s all gone, dad. I wanted to say, I told you so, but I didn’t.
I know that he’ll never use one of my marker pens on his body again. Playing a skeleton just a few hours before a swimming contest, is not a good idea. On the other hand, he could have been the one everybody was talking about.