I came home from work. Zach moaned and cooed and gurgled at his blue plush dog which meant he was excited to see me.
I picked him up and he whined and grunted, reaching for his dog. I looked at him and thought over all the firsts of his five and a half months of life: first gummy smile, which was at his mom; his first solid food, banana left over from my cereal that I mashed between my thumb and forefinger; and tonight, his first time away from mom and dad.
He craned his neck looking for his dog. “Zach, your mom and I are going out tonight and you’re going to have a babysitter. I left her explicit instructions to eat your toy dog, so you’ll be happy to see me when I come home from work. Don’t let her do the puzzle your mom and I are working on and try to fill your pants before we get back home.”
I began to sing his favorite song and he glanced my way, noticed me, and smiled. I blew a good raspberry on his slightly milky neck and he laughed. I sat him on the floor, gave him his dog, and went to get changed.
Black tie parties come once a year for officers. I wear a uniform and Kris wears a dress. We knew about this party a month ago. Kris bought six dresses for the occasion. She tried each of them on for me. I liked the purple one, the red one, the silver one, and the gray one. She returned five of the dresses.
The babysitter came by and I came out in my tuxedo. I gasped at Kris when I saw her, stunning in the black dress. Her heels made her taller than I was.
I bent down to Zach. “Be strong while we were gone, we’re coming back in a few hours.” He kept playing with his dog.
We went to the ball, Kris in her heels and me on my tip-toes. We had an exotic time. We met interesting people who had been to mysterious places “Southwest Asia” and “Southwest Asia.” We ate interesting food like “London Broil.” The people talked of politics and religious philosophy of Kierkegaard and Arminius. I told them about Zach and his dog.
A keynote speech, a keynote gift, and my first real dance with Kris came in a blur; the dance was nice, two songs really, one by The Righteous Brothers and one by Madonna. I opened the door to find Zachman.
He saw me and held up his dog to show me that the babysitter hadn’t eaten it. I tossed the dog aside and picked him up. He filled his pants and smiled. I promised not to leave him again for a long time. He tilted his head as if to say, “I didn’t notice you left me this time.” I kissed his neck and handed him to his mom. It was a good night.