There are few things in life Elijah likes to talk about less than what happened at school. It’s nearly impossible to extract any information about what occurred over the previous 8 hours other than “Nothing” or “I don’t know.”
I sometimes wonder if he’s really a tiny assassin employed by the Yakuza. Every morning he waves goodbye to his mother in the Washington school playground, but when her back is turned he races off to his private jet to strangle a mid-level drug dealer with a piano wire in Bali.
Really, the only evidence he attends school are these little colored behavior cards he brings home every day. They are coded based on how your kid did that day. Red? You get that if you throw a chair through a window. Your mom and dad have to sign that one. Then it goes yellow for being just a minor bastard. Then green for meh. The gold ring is blue. Blue is the best. Teacher’s pet.
Eli has been content to ride the Green Line since school started. Every day I say, “What color did you get today?” And he says, “Green.” And I always say, “Fine by me. Just so long as you don’t get a red. Dad doesn’t like to sign things.”
I’ll admit, I have been secretly wanting a blue. Just one blue. I mean, Eli’s a pretty great kid. What do you have to do to earn one anyway? Save someone from drowning?
So I’ve been trying to figure out the secret without placing too much pressure on the boy. I’ve been asking him who got a blue that day and why. Eli will say so and so got one for helping the teacher clean up crayons without being asked.
“What? THAT gets a blue? Cleaning up? This is rigged. Don’t worry about getting one of those blues. It’s all politics.”
Yesterday I came home and Elijah immediately came running up waving a piece of paper. It was blazing blue.
I thought to myself, “Take it easy. Don’t make a big deal of this. You don’t want to give him a complex.”
But then I thought, “Screw it,” and went nuts.
“Elijah! This is the greatest thing in the history of the world! Blue! Glorious blue! I am so, so proud of you! You get to stay up as late as you want tonight. Midnight. 3am. Whatever you want. Oh, that Minecraft game all the kids are playing? Bam. Buying it now. Oh, yeah. You can play that all night tonight if you want. Here. Take some ice cream. Eat it! Eat it all!”
Eventually, I calmed down and asked him what he did to earn it. It appears that the class fat kid was being shunned by the group and Eli asked him to play.
Way better than picking up some dumb crayons.