Sometimes, it hit Kiana out of the blue that Case would never get to meet Jonah. It felt incomprehensible to her that this kid, her son, would never get to know Case, her dad. Even though she’d never called him “Dad” and always thought of him as “Case,” he was still, in every possible aspect of the best way, her dad. And that he’d never get to know Jonah as a grandson, or Jonah get to know him as Granddad? It was too cruel.
Jonah was a great kid, like Case in his love for doing things to help the planet, but unlike him in so many ways that were, simply, intriguing and wonderful.
He was friendly, in a goofy way, and brave about approaching anyone with a joke and a smile.
But he wasn’t just outgoing and goofy. He was thoughtful and sensitive, too. At the time, Kiana’s special interest was yoga and wellness. She made amazing healthy tea, and all the neighbors stopped in for a cup at all hours.
It rubbed off on Jonah, and sometimes, after a hectic day at school, he’d head straight up to the yoga mat. “The mat’s got my back,” he loved to say.
Kiana’s days were so full–mornings getting Jonah fed and off to school, days busy with her free-lance work, then after school, helping Jonah with homework and projects, and making meals for supper and his lunch the next day. If she was lucky, she had a few hours to herself late at night, after tucking Jonah in, and always, by the time she crawled into bed, she couldn’t keep her eyes open a moment longer.
She didn’t have to worry about traffic or even strangers in their district. It was designated a pedestrian-friendly zone–no cars were allowed there–and she and Jonah knew all the vendors, neighbors, and regulars, so Jonah was free to play in the plaza whenever he wanted. Because it was known to be safe and neighborly, there were always other kids there for him to play with.
He usually brought home a few, kids who were eager to test out his art table and chemistry set.
One afternoon, Kiana was working on the graphics for a character design, unaware that one of Jonah’s friends had stopped by, when she smelled smoke.
She dashed upstairs to find the chemistry set on fire, and some child she didn’t even know whimpering, “I’m sorry! I’m sorry!” in front of it.
“Stand clear!” she yelled, grabbing the fire extinguisher.
The kid was fine, if a bit traumatized, the chemistry set was ruined, the carpet could be replaced, and the walls repainted.
“Whew,” Kiana said, “that was a close one.”
“I didn’t mean to,” said the kid.
“I know,” Kiana replied. “It wasn’t your fault.” If it was anyone’s fault, she realized, it was hers. If you have a kid, and that kid has friends who come over, it’s your responsibility to supervise dangerous activities. She was going to have to be more alert.
She wished she could talk to Case about this. “How did you manage?” she’d ask. “I remember you always being in the garden.”
She figured he would probably say, “Well, you were always a good kid who stayed out of trouble. Plus, all your friends were grown ups.”