In the morning I woke to the smell of coffee: Tom3 was letting me know that he was awake and ready to go. He didn't drink the stuff himself (though he could go through sodas like you wouldn't believe); but I always set up the coffee maker before I went to bed. On weekdays, I also set the timer; on weekends, I turned it on when I got up. Tom3 had started turning it on for me about a year ago, I think as a joke; but now it was one of our rituals, something he always did when he was here.
I found him in the living room, chatting with someone on the computer. He glanced up at my face, then down at the cup of coffee in my hand. Then he closed out his session. "Bladefang wants to go to the zoo with us," he announced.
"We'll have to get another ticket," I suggested. "Could be expensive."
He gave me an eloquent look: Not funny, Dad. Well, I used to be funny. Not anymore, apparently. Or maybe it was just too early.
"You just going to carry him around all day?" I asked. It was a lot less of a problem now, but I'd had years of being trained in my son's penchant for leaving beloved toys behind in ridiculously inconvenient places.
Tom3 blinked. "Oh, yeah," he said, as if I'd just reminded him of something. He stood up and headed for his room, a sandy-haired boy whose build had finally filled in from his last big growth spurt. Which meant he was probably due for another; he'd be taller the next time he came to visit, I thought.
I went to splash water on my face and brush my teeth, and when I came back Tom3 was holding a bit of cord. I watched with admiration as he deftly looped it into a sort of sling for the Bladefang figurine. Then, holding up the ends, he asked: "Would you...?"
I tied the ends together behind his neck, leaving Bladefang to hang on chest like a particularly ungainly medallion. Bladefang was clearly meant to be a statue or figurine, and the overall effect was a bit dorky... but then, Tom3 was my son. If he was little bit dorky, well... he came by it honestly. So, with everybody ready -- myself, Tom3, and Bladefang -- we piled into the car and headed for the zoo.