Tuesday night, after “Flat George” kindly poured me a glass of wine, I placed him safely in Jack’s room and shut the door. After all, the kids were with their dad and my cats like to eat cardboard. My intention had been to move him to my room in the morning before I left for work. But I was running late and forgot.
I also forgot to warn the boys, who beat me home.
When I called to tell them I was on my way, Jack was frantic.
Jack: Mom, who is that creepy guy in my room?
Me: That’s no creepy guy! That’s George Clooney!
Jack: Well, I don’t want him in my house so I punched him and threw him in the basement.
Jack punched George Clooney and threw him down a flight of stairs? I hit the gas a little harder and rushed home to assess the damage to my poor George. Per my phone instructions, Jack had rescued George from the basement and secured him in my room. When I got home, I took the stairs two-at-a-time to my bedroom. And what did I find? Right where George’s cardboard heart should be was a hole.
It looked like a gunshot wound.
I didn’t cry. But I was angry. I talked to Jack about respecting other people’s property. I explained that he’d have to replace it. I cringed a little as I told him what George had cost. (Remember I did the Amazon equivalent of drunk dialing when I ordered him.) Jack grew somber. He apologized. He bowed his head and went to his room. He came back to where I was trying to figure out a way to salvage George and put a $50 bill on my bed.
Jack: There’s half of what I owe you, Mom.
When he turned around to walk away, I knew I wasn’t going to take his money or buy a new George. After all, we’re all a little damaged in the heart, no?
As Jack and Colin headed to art class, I took on my own little craft project. George just needed a patch on his broken heart. (If only it were that easy for those not made of cardboard, but I’m happy to affix red paper hearts to anyone who needs one.)
Later, I walked to pick up the boys from art class. We enjoyed a nice walk home on a perfect fall evening. I reiterated the importance of being respectful of other people’s personal belongings. Jack apologized again. I explained to Jack that I had saved George and that he could keep his $50.
When we got home, I more formally introduced the boys to George.
Colin: He’s a movie star? I haven’t seen him in any movies. What has he been in? Did you really meet him? Why isn’t he smiling?
Jack: How long is he going to stay here?
If I got 20 questions for bringing a cardboard man home, I can’t imagine what it will be like someday if I bring home the real deal.
There is no photographic evidence of this meeting because Jack refuses to be in the same room with George Clooney.