written by Deb
I had an awful feeling before I heard the first bullet fire. Maybe it was the helicopter hovering ominously overhead. Or perhaps it was the lifeless bodies strewn haphazardly on the empty village street. Then suddenly, as the second and third shots rang out, I saw him fall to the ground. The pleading screams and guttural moans began.
"Really? REALLY?! Is it that big of a deal?" I asked, as my son slumped in his chair, letting the video game control drop from his hands. Such a scene, you would have thought he had actually been shot, rather than his macho little character that he had so lovingly created over time to meet exact, true-to-life specifications.
"YES! I was trying to earn an AK-47!!"
"How do you do that?" Did I really want to know the answer?
"By winning the battle and getting 3 close-range kills," he explained.
I couldn't believe what I heard next, coming from my own mouth! "Oh honey, don't worry, I'm sure you'll kill them all next time. Maybe try the bazooka... Or you could even impale them with your bayonet. Remember how excited you were when you earned the bayonet?"
I could see his mood begin to lift. "Yeah, I'll try again later. Do you want to play?"
"Me? But I don't know what to do!" I hesitated.
"C'mon, Mom, it's easy. You just shoot people." I am fairly certain he rolled his eyes.
"Okay, but you can't laugh!" I took the control and kind of punched at the buttons, hoping to miraculously live for longer than 2 seconds. "OH! I think I got that guy!" I exclaimed. I was so proud of myself and felt invigorated by my obviously natural talent to kill. Right as I was aiming at my second victim, out of nowhere, I was mauled by a rabid wild dog. "Ughhhhhhh... I was so close!!!"
"It's alright, Mom. You did okay," he said as he patted me on the shoulder.
Before he took the control back, he leaned over to snuggle with our dog that had been napping at his feet during this whole scene. He kissed the top of her head and jumped back into the game...
Oh, and as I left the room, he must have been too wrapped up in the game to realize what he was saying...
"Love you, Madre."
"I love you, too, sweet boy. Thanks for letting me play."
I know some of you might call me a bad mother, perpetuating violence at best... creating a monster for the next generation, at worst.
Me? I just call it quality time and count my blessings. By morning, we will have fought over homework, breakfast, and whether or not he had actually washed his hair. So to me, a shared defeat in the jungles of Saigon is simply paradise.