Those days are over now for the golf cart. It now sits silent after years of abuse by the sometimes pickled teenage kids who took it for daring joyrides over the dirt berms on our property. Some of the maneuvers I have witnessed that golf cart do late at night would put the Duke Boys' General Lee to shame.
Now it sits next to another aging, broken-down golf cart in need of repair, sporting widening spots of decay in its fiberglass body. The cup holders collect nothing but dust and rain water.
Erik could care less. He still thinks it is the best thing since sliced bread.
I allowed him this unexpected, luxurious visit and smiled at his delighted reaction. I sat in the passenger seat of the white cart and took a call for work while tiny snowflakes fell around us like bits of campfire ash. Erik laughed to himself and circled both vehicles, slowly bending to closely inspect each wheel as he went, appreciating every inch of machine. Meanwhile, I spoke on my cell phone and tried to sound professional by willing my teeth to stop chattering.
When I was frozen solid and my call was finished, I told Erik it was time to walk back to the house. If his vocabulary included filthy words, I am certain he would have used them all on me. I was then forced to carry over 35 pounds of boy back down the road. By the time we reached the porch, the fury had fizzled to grief, and tears and snot ran down his face in slimy rivers. My legs were beginning to sting from exertion.
He said, "I am crying because I am sad!"
I told him that I understood and while that was okay, this type of overreaction would cause me to think twice about visiting the golf cart graveyard again. He sprawled on the kitchen floor, stomach down, and continued to sob, looking up at me intermittently to gauge my reaction.
By that evening, he had been overtaken by a raging fever. I was relieved there had been something fueling his odd behavior and mood swings but felt nervous about another round of high temperatures. The boy is rarely ill, but when he is, he usually gets very high temperatures. They reached 103 yesterday. His cheeks were blotchy, and he asked me to lie on the couch with him. He was soon snoring, and it was strange to see him as anything but a blur zooming around the house. He was motionless, and I wrapped my arms around him and stroked his gorgeous hair. As soon as it was time for more Tylenol, the skin blotches would form again before they ran together into a furious blush, and his eyelids seemed to become heavy. He would wake intermittently and attempt to jump up and sprint across the living room, mumbling the names of people he thought were coming for a visit or about pieces of his favorite construction equipment. The color of his skin caused him to look like me after a step aerobics class at the gym but soon returned to normal after I held him down and shot cherry-flavored Tylenol down his throat from a syringe.
Today he is a sight. His hair has an unidentifiable substance dried in it, and he is wearing pajamas in the middle of the afternoon a la Howard Hughes. There are crusty islands of Malt O Meal dried on his chest. Old tears have dried on his cheeks, leaving salty rings.
For the life of me, though, I can't seem to get a hold of the guy to begin to clean him up. It seems that the fever is receding.
He is once again a happy blur. At least for now.