Beyond The Frame

The church door opens and in walks in a large boy towing a smaller man behind.  He looks back at the man and says “bathroom”. They head off as a woman and a smaller boy move in through the doors.  The woman smiles as the large boy goes into the bathroom, then scans the atrium to see where the other one went. A taller boy follows after them and moves toward the back of the atrium, away from the footpath of the crowd.  He begins to march quickly back and forth, seven paces one way, then another, as if he had been posted on guard duty.

The first boy and the man emerge from the bathroom, the man trying vainly to pull down the boy’s shirt in back.  The boy is oblivious as he heads to the water fountain. There are two there, and he drinks from them both, one at a time and in equal amounts.  The man says he’s sorry to the young woman who the boy almost ran over on his way to the church library.

The man acknowledges a few acquaintances on the way, but does not have time to stop and chat.  The smaller boy has spotted him and inquires “Where’s Jon?”

The man points to the church library as he sees the first boy head around a pillar.  He quickens his step, hoping to catch his son before… well, before Jon starts doing Jon stuff.

The man and the smaller boy catch up to Jon and the smaller boy chastise him.

“You got to stay with Daddy!” he wags his finger at the larger boy.  The two look like a ant scolding an elephant, but Jon stops in his tracks.  He points to the man and starts moving his fingers as if casting a spell.

“Daddy” he announces in a deep bass voice that is a little too loud for their surroundings.  Jon looks at the man until he repeats the word.

“Yes, wait for Dad,” he answers.  Jon removes his pack and searches for the book he checked out last week.  He hasn’t read the book since he checked it out, but it is now time to get a new one.

Jon puts the old book in the return bin and makes a beeline for the bookshelf.  The man apologizes to two more people before he catches up again. Jon grabs a book off the shelf and hands it to his Father.  The man says no, the a book about teenage girls is not appropriate. Jon puts it back and grabs the one right next to it. Since this one is about teenage boys and girls, it gets approval.  Jon signs his name and the date for next Sunday (without the aide of the calendar hanging up by the checkout).

That task done, they head off again.  Now they are on their way to the cookie counter.  The older boy is still pacing in the back of the church, oblivious as his Father and Brother walks by.  Jon stops at the counter and begins to reach for the cookies. There are two people ahead of him, so a touch from the Dad on his shoulder tells him he must wait.  When it’s their turn, the Dad prompts Jon.

He grabs two cookies and looks at Dad to see if he has to put the second one back.  Dad takes one for himself and Jon is off again. He takes two bulletins, one child’s and one adult and slips into the third pew from the back.  Dad and the little boy join him. Mother comes soon and the older boy stops pacing as soon as the announcements start. They are all in the pew and look like any other family portrait at that moment in time.  But of course, things look different when you go beyond the frame.

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