While Jake and I played cards at a picnic table outside, Michael blasted John Lee Hooker and made dinner (It was great. The deliciously seasoned Slouvaki slid off skewers into a bed of rice and freshly sautéed veg. most divinely.) Jake began to sing, “I went down to the ri-vAH!”
His voice dropped into a dark neighborhood in Chicago. “I went down to the ri-vAH!
Ah put my face in the ri-vAH! Ah washed my past a-waaaay.”
In the distance, near the river that encircles the campground, someone was yelling joyously. Jake shot up and struck his chest, echoing the exaltation. It was great to see him relax as much as he might with other adolescents. I’d like to blame Michael for this entirely, but perhaps I do with affirm Jake’s…… expressivity.
“Cuz you’re such a wordstalker mom!”
My hope is that this trip is for him (well, actually for all of us) an epoch of comfortable exploration, from intellectual to social interaction. Its all hanging out in an intuitive way, where he is less self-conscious than with his peers, who can be cruel, as well I remember of adolescent years, even in the classroom. For Jake, Michael and I math comes slower than all the other subjects. Fortunately for me, Michael offered to teach this one. As they muddle their way through math using the teacher’s textbook, often using the answers to work their way back with logic and debate and reversing the role of pupil and teacher, the hierarchy and judgment he suffers from inside as well as out in the classroom dissipates. Puzzling out loud, stream-of-consciousness-speaking and the occasional farting noise seems to help. But it can mean other things, too.
“That’s it for now guys. I’m heading to the john. Gonna let go of some of my issues.”