by Jim Dollar
The buttons were everywhere. The contents of the entire box had exploded across the room, covering floor, chairs and the potted plastic fern.
“The little bastard!” she thought. “I’ll just have to kill him. Any jury in the land would acquit me. It isn’t as though I haven’t told him. ‘Be careful around the sewing machine,’ I said. ‘Watch what you’re doing in the sewing room,’ I said. He is going to die right now.”
Striding through the house on a mission, she arrived at the screen door and pushed. The door, as was its tradition, refused to budge.
“Damn it all to HELL!” she shouted, kicking the bottom of the door. One kick usually did the trick, but not this time. And, in the instant between the first kick and the second one, she looked through the screen into the back yard and saw him swinging on his stomach, looking at the ground, on the one swing that still hung from the old gym set.
He wasn’t old enough to have conspired to disrupt hr sewing day with the button disaster. He wasn’t old enough to think about what he was doing before he did it, or even, as he was doing it. Yet, he was growing too fast. Childhood was disappearing before her eyes. How many more seconds would there be before there would never be any more buttons to pick up, ever?
“Maybe I won’t kill him today,” she said to herself, working the door open .
She walked to the swing set and gave him a gentle push on his butt. “I thought I would give you a push and tell you I love you,” she said, “before we go in and pick up some buttons.”
Writing from Batesville, Mississippi, Sunday, January 21, 1996