“Bedtime for Felix,” Friend, June 2018
Anton watched as the computer screen loaded level six for what seemed like the millionth time. He took a deep breath and started moving through the maze, flying over colorful spikes and through fiery tunnels. He tapped his foot faster as he got closer and closer to the finish line.
“Anton?” It was Mom’s voice. She sounded like she needed something.
Not now! he thought. He jumped over another spike and sped deep through another tunnel. “Yes?” he said, not moving his eyes from the screen.
“Would you please get Felix into his pajamas and read him a story? I’ve got to finish cleaning up the kitchen.”
“Um … ” He was so close! He curved through one last spiky corridor, over another flame, past a chomping monster, and … YES! Across the finish line!
The computer loaded level seven. It looked harder, but Anton couldn’t wait to try it. He had worked so hard to reach this level. Anton hit the pause button and looked up at Mom, who was holding his little brother, Felix. “Can I have a few more minutes? I just got to level seven!”
“I really need your help,” Mom said. “You can do one more level after you take care of Felix.”
Felix smiled. “Pwease?” he said in his tiny two-year-old voice.
Anton looked at the computer screen and sighed. “All right.” He’d just have to hurry so he could get back to his game.
He lifted Felix and carried him up the stairs to their room.
“Who’s my favorite baby brother?” he said, poking Felix’s squishy baby tummy. He blew on Felix’s stomach and smiled as Felix squealed with laughter.
Anton dressed Felix in his favorite blue pajamas. Then he lifted Felix into bed and headed for the door. Mom had told him to read Felix a story too, but he had done the important part. Maybe now he could get in two more levels before bedtime.
Just then Anton felt a tug on his shirt. He looked down and saw that Felix had climbed out of bed.
“Bear?” Felix asked. He ran to his basket of books and brought back a book with a bear on the front.
“Aw, Felix, I’ve got things to do!” Anton said. Felix held the book above his head, looking up at Anton with his big blue eyes.
Anton couldn’t help but grin. “You won’t take no for an answer, will you? Well, OK.”
Anton sat down on Felix’s bed, and Felix climbed up into his lap. Anton opened to the first page and read while Felix leaned against him. Felix pointed to each animal on the page and practiced saying its name. “Zee-ba … famingo … wah-wus.”
When it was over, Anton closed the book and tucked Felix’s blanket around him. “Good night, Felix,” he said, kissing Felix on the head and standing to go.
But as he walked toward the door, he heard that little voice again. “Snuggle?”
Anton smiled. “OK. Scoot over. I’ll stay for a bit.”
Anton lay down on the pillow. At least for now, he didn’t really feel like doing anything else. He smiled when Felix gave a big yawn and closed his eyes. He felt the happiest he’d been all day. His game could wait.