Yesterday I was pitching Baseballs to Ryan out front. It’s a happy by-product of the recent Baseball Playoffs. Ryan is no longer interested in whacking the ball off the tee now that he has seen that the ball gets thrown to the real guys. With every fiber of my being I try to lob that ball in to meet his bat like a meatball so that he can send it soaring to the stars. I’m amazed at how quickly and accurately he attacks the ball as it flies off in all different directions. I also admire how unfazed he is by his very low hitting percentage. One out of every twenty gets lightly fouled off after several swings and he gets right back in to position shouting, “I ready!” Even when he makes good hard contact he thrills for a second and then, “I ready!”
All was grand until Bono stepped out of his front door. Ryan without hesitation grabbed the ball from my hands and presented it to Bono as if it were a precious gift for the King.
Bono is the boy next door that was named after some obscure singer in a band. Bono is a five-year-old Rock Star. He’s got the style and swagger and magnetism of a guy that’s used to filling Stadiums. He is of average height for his age and thin. When he struts past you he seems ten times that. Bono enthralls Ryan. Ryan drops whatever he is doing when the slightest glimpse of Bono appears. Bono is good and kind hearted to us. Although you get the feeling that we mere mortals only register as a dull muffled vibration in his Carnival existence.
Yesterday Bono was covered in Disney/Pixar’s “Cars” Band-Aids. They seemed to be evenly spaced out at about four inches apart. He was ablaze in Lightning McQueen. The orange and black paint on his toes were faded and weathered from the long active week since Halloween. He had one real cut on his knee that was covered with a Spiderman Band-Aid. The rest was all Spiderman. Shirts, shorts and headband were all splattered with Spiderman in action.
Bono had no interest in Baseball yesterday and I felt bad for Ryan. I watched him spend the time outside chasing him around with the bat and ball saying “Please, Bono. Play Baheball” Each time Bono walked away Ryan undeterred would chase after him. I stood quietly nearby for support but tried not to interfere. I wanted to somehow make Bono pay attention to Ryan. I wanted to bribe him or scream at him. I stayed quiet.
When I was a kid it was Jimmy Doyle. He was The Fonz in the way that Bono is a Rock Star. The Fonz lived across the street and whenever I would see him outside I would beg my Mother to let me cross. Once she did I would run to The Fonz and he would then, being older, cross himself to the other side just to avoid me. He would never look both ways when he crossed because he was The Fonz and nobody would ever hit him. I don’t remember my feelings being hurt when The Fonz would avoid me, just confusion. Even though I felt terrible for Ryan he only seemed confused by Bonos’ behavior and that comforted me.
Finally and beautifully Ryan grabbed my hand and ushered me back to our front door to continue our game. I love being there for him. I love that I was a sturdy back up. I love that his feelings weren’t hurt when Bono didn’t want to play with him. I love that I was once again his number one.
After about five more minutes my Beautiful Bride stepped outside to check on us. Ryan promptly grabbed the ball out of my hand and offered it to his Mommy as if it were some precious gift for the Queen. All is right in the world.