Jonathan & Dane Bullerwell
"And that's how the Grinch Stole Christmas," said Jonathan. He looked over at Dane, hoping he was asleep, but this close to the holidays it was a wonder to get him to bed before midnight.
"Dad, do you think Santa's elves were watching the Grinch when he gave Christmas back to the Whos?" Dane asked, as he sat up straighter in bed.
"Probably, they're always watching everyone, you know that," said Jonathan with a smile.
"Right. Everyone everywhere?"
"Yup. Everyone everywhere, all over the world."
"Aren't you getting sleepy little man?"
"Nope! Read another."
"Dane, I'm getting sleepy. And the elves are watching me, so I've got to get to bed if I want that new set of golf clubs for Christmas. So you've got to go to bed so I can go to bed."
"Okay. Can I come golfing with you when you get your new clubs?'
"Do the elves make the clubs?"
"Yup. They invite Tiger Woods to the North Pole to test them out and everything."
Jonathan looked outside. There wouldn't be golfing for at least another six or eight months. Canadian winters really sucked the life out of golfers, We should move to Florida, he thought. But then I would have to mow the grass way more often. Maybe not.
Jonathan got up from Dane's bed and readjusted the sheets around his son. He pulled Dane's Bob the Builder bedspread up around his son's chin and kissed his forehead.
"Seriously, go to bed. The elves report back every night, and every time you don't listen to your parents they take one present out from under the tree."
Dane squeezed his eyes shut, tightly, scrunching up his freckled face.
"Can they tell if I'm faking Dad?" he whispered.
"Absolutley," Jonathan said with a grin. "Night champ."
Jonathan walked to the door and shut off the light.
Jonathan turned around, having half shut the door behind him.
"Is dying like sleeping for a really long time?"
Jonathan's mind raced wildly. He really liked being a dad but he really wished kids wouldn't ask questions like that. He didn't have a knack for answering them like Dane's mom did. If she were here she could handle this whooper, thought Jonathan.
"Yeah, kind of like that bud."
"But you never wake up, right?"
"Well it depends on what you believe I guess."
"But mommy never woke up."
Jonathan's chest tightened. "No, she didn't."
"Someday I won't wake up either, right dad?"
"Someday a long time from now, yes. But you don't need to worry about it for a long long time."
"Yes?" Jonathan walked over and perched on the end of Dane's bed.
"Please don't die okay? When you go to sleep tonight don't die."
"Okay bud, I won't." Jonathan's mind raced wildly. He sure as hell hadn't learned to cope with Haley's death, so of course Dane hadn't. He wanted to make everything better for Dane, and reassure him that everything would be alright in the future. But reality was, one day he would die. And Dane's mom wouldn't be there to comfort him when it happened.
"I can hear you snoring when you sleep and when you stop snoring I get scared. Promise you'll snore all night dad? So I know you're alive?"
"I can do that."
"Thanks dad. I love you."
"I love you too bud."
Jonathan got up and walked to the door, shutting it softly behind him.
He got into his king sized bed and stacked three pillows beside him, where Haley should have been. He closed his eyes and waited for sleep.
He didn't really want golf clubs for Christmas. Or a longer golfing season. He wanted his wife back.