Monday, August 27, 2007

When The Sun Explodes...

In the car today, my son Jake asked what would happen when the sun explodes.

Not if the sun explodes, but when. Jake, at seven, takes things very seriously, especially anything related to the weather. As a small child, he would get very upset by a heavy rainstorm. He had heard about the Tsunami and Katrina and was certain the same thing would happen to him.

Well, I said, I don't think they expect the sun to explode for a few million years.

Yeah, but what will happen?

Everything blows up and everyone dies, Ben snapped. He has little patience for his little brother's question. At 11, almost 12, acne control is far more important than any dramatic sun blowing up business.

What would you do, Mom? Jake asked, If it was gonna happen in three hours?

It's not going to happen, I said.

Mom.... what would you do?

I would... sit at the beach with all of you, and Momma Jeanine and Walter and Allan and watch the sun explode from the most beautiful place I know. I'd just hug you all a lot.

I'd go take stuff from stores, Zachary piped in. I mean, no one would be there, so... I'd take stuff.

You'd spend your last three hours alive stealing? I asked.

No, it wouldn't be stealing. Just taking stuff because no one would be there.


Why not?

This comment, of course, bothers me. I've lost sight of trying to ease Jake's mind that the world is not going to end, the sun is not going to blow up and we're all going to be fine.

Zachary! It would still be stealing and why would you want stuff when the whole world was going to end? Everyone gone. Stuff, everything.

He was not to be deterred. Why not? I mean... why just sit? That'd be boring.

When is the sun gonna blow up? Jake asks again.

Right. Jake. I try to shift gears again.

Honey, the sun is not going to blow up.

How do you know? He asks.

People spend their lives studying the sun, the planets, the universe- they would let us know.

Jake, it's going to blow up in three minutes! Ben said, pleased with his ability to invoke terror in his brother.

Jake doesn't take the bait though- he starts to laugh instead. Quick, Mom! Drive to the beach!

I take a deep breath and sigh. The conversation has now shifted into three brothers bantering about the end of the world and silly things they would do like run around and scream on the top of their lungs. They all seem to know just enough about each other to slightly torture, somewhat tease, and ultimately send each other into gales of laughter.

It's the end of summer. Ten more days till schools starts. The sun is not exploding but not nearly as hot as a few weeks ago. The leaves, in Maine at least, have started to change colors. Today at the beach there was not a single cloud. The water was so clear you could see through the waves as they curled and broke. We had hot dogs and french fries sitting on beach towels, salty with that slight crunch of sand in each bite.

And if the world were to end in three hours, I could not imagine a more perfect place to say goodbye.


Blogger Diatribal said...

This is what concerns me about having multiple kids! How do I focus on the "important stuff" of one child without totally ignoring the other kid's "important stuff?" Such deep thought for such young men.

7:35 PM  
Blogger Sara said...

and what do you do when something big comes up and someone needs to go pee?

or the other two start a fight?

or you see a cop in the rearview and have to check your speed, quick?

9:06 PM  
Anonymous Paul said...

Funny stuff, nice.

3:38 PM  

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