We can pass. Father and son. Arden is light-skinned. When we are out together on the streets of New York City, running from hot dog stand to Circuit City in search of the newest Play Station games, salespeople, street cart vendors and cashiers at department stores just assume he is my son.
Arden’s got a mind of his own and quite honestly, looks a little like me, in strange Cacuasian way. An eleven year old who lost his father at ten is like an adopted son to me now. The facts are unspoken, but yes, Arden is the son I never had biologically and he even has my nose.
He passed school this year. He’s heading into middle school next Fall. A friend of his mother gave him a $25 Visa gift card as a grammar school graduation present. He came over this weekend, wanting to spend it.
Arden’s big brother Bradley has been my lover for 7 years know. I’ve known Arden since he was 4.
Off we went on the G and L trains to Union Square– in search of an Ipod first, but nothing caught his ear or eye.
Arden insisted on going into watch shop instead of buying a music playing device. He purchased a watch with what he imagined to be a real credit card. The cashier swiped his $25 gift card. The price of the watch after tax was $27.55. The computer attached to a cash register denied Arden’s purchase.
Perhaps the Visa Card given to Arden by a friend of his mother was already used. Maybe she thought Arden would just want to pretend with it.
Perhaps Arden was just pulling my leg, trying to get me out of the house, knowing that I would pay for the watch when we both learned in front of a long line in a watch shop that the card was already used.
The black cashier picked up the phone in her station and called her supervisor immediately.
“How do we enter for a Visa gift card.”
Arden and I just looked at each other. He knew I would pay for it if the gift card was a fake.
“Oh, enter it twice,” the sista said into the mouthpiece of a plastic white phone.
“It’s alright. You’ll owe me $2.55 in cash. The card is only worth $25.”
Before Arden could say ‘Dad’ I reached into my wallet and helped to purchase his graduation watch.
He looks just like a rap star and I’m so proud of him.
“Thank you, Chals,” he said as he left for home today. “I’ll never forget you for taking me to buy this watch.”
I hope he doesn’t. He’s growing up so fast and time is all we have.