Once Upon a Time… -Pandora
Once Upon a Time…
“Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, it was a dark and stormy night,” he paused for dramatic effect, “and the three little kittens had lost their mittens…”
“Dad!” the boy wailed, “Don’t!”
“Don’t what? I’m just reading the story.”
“That’s not how it goes!” The child was on to him. “Read it the RIGHT way!”
“But I’ve read you these stories a thousand times. You must be as bored with them as I am. I thought we could have fun and make a story up of our own.”
His son stared at him skeptically. When did children become so savvy? Why was his son so fixated on him reading the book the “right way”?
“OK. Let’s make a deal. I will read you this story, as it is written, if you promise to stay in your own bed for the whole night?” So much for the idea of never negotiating with a terrorist, he thought to himself.
The child looked concerned, twisting the ends of his blanket. “But what if I see the lights coming in my window again? Can I come in to your bed then?”
This is why his wife had warned him against negotiating. There were always going to be terms. But at this point he was running out of time. She’d be home in less than an hour, and if the boy was still up it was dad’s neck that was on the line. That was their arrangement: she would take the 2nd shift, as long as he got their son to bed on her late nights at work. He was beginning to understand that his task was more difficult that he imagined. In fact it was exhausting.
“OK,” he conceded. “But only if it is lights coming in the room. Not if there is monster under your bed, or if the ghost comes out from your closet.”
He saw the boys eyes get bigger as he peered at the closet door at the end of his bed. “Wha… what ghost?” he whimpered.
Now he’d done it.
When she came in she quietly set her things in the hall and took her shoes off. She walked towards her son’s room where the door was ajar. Peering into the dark room she realized he wasn’t in his bed. Quickly turning she went further down the hall to their room. They were both in the bed, asleep with a book of fairy tales open between them. She turned the lights out as she left the room, muttering to herself, “Once upon a time, I had a bed of my own.”