Just an Autumn Afternoon

Autumn had a sneaky, and often annoying habit of overtaking summer when you least expect it. Bright green leaves waving lazily in the scalding heat seemed to miraculously change into their autumn suits of orange, yellow and bright red, and before you know it, they begin their graceful decent to earth. With not so much as a chilly breeze, the season of fun and sun had drawn to a close.

This delicate and frankly beautiful process occurred without the notice of Calvin, as he sat in his study poring over lists of figures, typing feverishly on his computer, and once in a while, releasing a tired sigh. The days of fun and sun had ended for him many years ago, not unlike the advent of autumn by the fact that he had become his father seemingly overnight. His father had his wish granted, now his son was a man of real character.

The sound of shuffling papers and the steady clack of keyboard keys being pressed and unpressed was interrupted suddenly by a shrill scream, of which only the words 'Mom' and 'monster' were audible.

And with that, Calvin let out the deepest sigh yet, and quite reluctantly (as much as he hated his current activity), left his seat and wandered into the hall to see what his daughter had gotten into now.

As he rounded the hall, he saw her clinging to her mother's leg, spinning a harrowing tale of adventure and heroism cruelly interrupted by a monster attack.

"And then something huge and hairy, with ten rows of teeth! And bloody claws! And..and..."

Little Rosalyn (Calvin still regretted letting his mother name her; he had refused adamantly but his wife, either ignorant of, or knowing all too well, the history behind that name, had agreed to it), definitely resembled Calvin, with her blond hair, active imagination, expansive vocabulary, and an almost superhuman ability to aggravate both her parents.

Seeing that the cavalry had arrived, Lyn (Calvin refused to call her by her proper name), immediately rushed to her father's side, asking for aid in her quest to rid the attic of bloodthirsty monsters once and for all.

"Dad! Do you have a rifle? Will you shoot it?"

Groaning, and groaning again as he saw the pointed look his wife gave him, Calvin began the ascent to the attic, or as Lyn was now calling it, 'The Den of a Thousand Maws'.

Fully expecting to find spiders, mice, or most likely, nothing at all, Calvin peered through the dusty semi-darkness, as the attic was lit only by a tiny window. He saw the mess his daughter had made as she had no doubt been searching for lost treasure or some such nonsense. And as he searched for the source of her distress, his hand brushed something soft, and eerily familiar.

Immediately he was transported to another time, of glorious summers spent gallivanting through the woods, of battles against snow goons, of skipped homework and fantastic forays into the mysterious, and beautiful realms none had dared to venture. And all through this, a familiar softness, a comforting, yet at the same time, annoying presence. A true friend...

"Hey old buddy, where've 'ya been all this time?"

His reverie was broken by the shout of his daughter exclaiming that the deadly beast had claimed him as it's next meal. And once again he was back in his dusty old attic, clutching in his hand a battered and dusty stuffed tiger.

Smiling, perhaps a little sadly, but smiling still, Calvin descended back to where his daughter was waiting. Still smiling, he presented his daughter with the 'beast', and told her to go play outside, as the dusty attic was no place for her. Ignoring his wife's inquiring gaze upon him for now, he followed his daughter out the door, and watched as she moved onto her next adventure, and he actually laughed when he heard her voice drift back to him in what he swore was a one-sided argument with her new friend.

He felt his wife's hand on his shoulder as she watched with him, and he placed his hand over her's.

"I guess there's no chance that she'll turn out to be like me when I was that age is there?" she said with a long-suffering sigh.

His smile grew even wider, as he remembered what his mother used to tell him.

"Someday I hope you have a kid that puts you through what I've gone through."

She had gotten her wish, just as his grandmother had gotten hers.

Giving his wife a peck on the cheek, he turned to his wife. "You never know, perhaps she'll name him Mr. Tigs and invite some reckless boy next door for a tea party." he teased.

And then she rolled her eyes at him just as she used to when he made a fool in front of her, which occurred quite often as he recalled. "Well, chuckles, would you kindly be the one to drag your daughter back into the house, dinner will be ready in an hour." she retorted, and turned to enter the house once more.

Grinning, he followed her and inquired, "What are we having anyways?"

Turning, she gave him a look, eyes shining with mischief, and he fell for her all over again.

"Spider pie."