“Come on, Sammy. Come and play piano for Deena.” The mom asks of her 8-year old son.
”Come on, Sammy. Come and play. Deena wants to hear you play the 18th Century March.”
”Sammy, you come here in 2 minutes.”
“You come here in 2 minutes,” Sammy mocks his mother’s Asian accent.
“Oh, he’s very shy,” his mother tells me. “He is smart, has lots of friends…”
Finally Sammy runs into the living room, sits down at the piano and plays the boring 18th Century March very well. Then, face down, he makes a quick get-away, before either of us can say anything to him.
“Oh, he’s not practicing. The teacher says he’s talented and smart but isn’t practicing.”
We go into the study where Sammy is playing computer games. He stares at the screen, trying to ignore our existence.
He’s a teenager at the age of 8, I keep thinking.
She scruffs his hair. He automatically moves away.
Does he avoid her touch? He’s only 8. When did he start doing that?
She retains her composure through our meeting, giving nonchalant excuses for his behavior. Talking easily about their need for a babysitter – someone to come in the afternoons and “help” him with his homework and piano practice.
Are we truly convinced a babysitter is what this family needs?
Written March 14, 2007 as part of a creative writing course with the thoughtful and caring teacher and writer Paul Belserene.