August 21, 2010
The three of us sat lined up at the dining room table. The fish taco dishes had been cleared and I was explaining to my four-years and three-hundred-and-sixty-three-day-old (give or take depending on Leap Years) niece the concept of Phase 10. It would be impossible, too difficult to manage if it hadn't been for the pack of little kid Phase 10 cards that I found an hour prior. Genesis, to my right, neatly fanned her discard pile into beautiful shapes. Amos, on the left, busied himself with stacking and flipping cards that were not in use. The rule is that the first person to finish their phase yells “Yo, Gabba Gabba!” in order to truly be considered the winner. This embarrasses Genesis and she forfeits the first game to self consciousness. I swear to you, I never let her win but she never let me win, either. That girl's good at Phase 10.
Once she started getting pretty full of herself, though, she'd slap down her last card and start her chant in a low rumble that erupted into a display of her standing on her chair, squealing with her hands in the air. Amos, quietly organizing in his own way until this point, screams, “gababababa!!” as well and tries to stand up in his high chair. A brush with gravity, earlier in the day, however, reminded him that perhaps it would be fine to experiment with seated enthusiasm.
After twenty minutes of this, we put on our pajamas and the world changed. Their mom and dad's high bed was a life raft and the carpet was hot lava. We laid on the rubber raft, exhausted, fanning ourselves on account of the lava's heat and made out shapes in the clouds. Amos said he saw a shoe. Genesis saw fireworks. We all laid there, huddled, keeping one another safe from the dangerous edges when all of a sudden Genesis saw that the sun was going down. Up until now, we'd been staring directly at the sun but the moon was coming out. We couldn't very well make-believe nighttime while staring up at the clouds and the sun. Her imagination found its usual footing. She pulled on her lava-proof boots “like real firemen wear” and showed us who's boss. She made a heroic and dramatic dive into the lava, forcefully and with conviction, slapped the light switch and made a mad dash back to the safety of her life raft, little brother and Aunt. We welcomed her with cheers and applause and as we laid there, staring into the stars and feeling very grateful for one another, Amos reached to stroke his sister's feet and said, “Owie.”
“Oh. It's okay, Bubby,” Genesis said, patting his hand, “I was wearing my lava-proof boots.”