When there is a knock on my door these days I can pretty much guarantee that it is wee Liam from the apartment across the way.
There are only three apartments on each floor of the complex in which I live and we have secure access – so no one else can get up.
There was a rapping just a little while ago and I dragged myself wearily from my couch and opened the door.
It has been a long day.
It has been a long week.
Liam was there in his Spiderman pajamas and he aimed his wrist at me and made a ‘Phshhhhh” noise and I took a mock step back as if I was struck and then entangled in a Spiderman web.
“You got me dude” I sputtered.
“Spiderman” he retorted.
Then he raised his wrist and he ‘Phsshed’ me again.
Spiderman is Liam’s thing at the moment. He is only five year’s old and about three feet tall and he has been mostly Fireman Sam in recent weeks so an arachnid superhero is a nice variation.
“Is your brother here yet?” Liam enquired.
“I told you yesterday Liam, he’s not arriving until Wednesday’
“Are you coming in then?”
We both looked back at Liam’s apartment door and his Dad Warwick shrugged his shoulders and I waved an OK back.
“Y’oright Wazza?” I enquired.
I’ll bring him back in a while” I added.
“Earlier if you want” Warwick responded.
“Behave yourself Liam” Warwick told his pint-sized son
“He’s no trouble at all mate” I told Liam’s Dad.
Any trouble at all.
Any trouble at all.
He is a gem actually and he quite often lights up my day.
Liam normally has insightful thoughts and we have pleasant and interesting conversations that intrigue and amuse me. Our conversations flow as they should between friends.
“Where’s your brother then dude?” I asked of Liam as he hoisted himself up onto my black leather couch.
“Did you web him like you webbed me?”
‘Mum wouldn’t let me” he complained.
“So I’m the only victim here then?”
“Yes” – then he ‘Phsshed’ again at me and I held my arms tight to my side as if they were bound by super spider silk. I toppled over onto the floor flapped about a bit and told Liam that I couldn’t move.
It seemed to please him.
“How do I get out of these sticky webs Liam? I’m really stuck.”
He removed what must have been an invisible can of some sort from his utility belt/pajama cord and sprayed me with yet another Phssh noise and I was miraculously released from the web.
“That is pretty sticky stuff Liam that you should really use on your enemies and not your mates don’t you think?”
“I don’t have any enemies yet Peter. I am only five years old”
‘Well said little friend’ I thought to myself.
The sapience and sagacity of infancy is a remarkable thing.
It is an inestimably precious commodity.
“So you are just practicing on me?”
“Yes and if any bad men come I will shoot web on them to protect you”
He was being deadly earnest.
It is pretty cool having a five-year-old protector.
“How is Dave going then?” Liam enquired.
“He seems to be thriving” I replied.
Liam’s ‘th’s’ get lost into ‘f’s’ sometimes - as they do with little kids
“It means doing very well”
Liam gave me Dave the other day.
Dave is a small plastic dinosaur.
I admired the dinosaur when I crossed paths with Liam and his Mum in the lift lobby and Liam handed him to me. I closely inspected the small lump of green plastic and told him that it was a fine looking dinosaur. When I went to hand it back Liam told me to keep it. I refused of course but he was obstinate and insistent. He told me that the dinosaur would cheer me up and protect me.
I am not sure why Liam thinks that I need protecting but it seems to be a fairly recurrent theme.
Perhaps I do.
I have been a bit under the weather and down in the dumps of late - and the little kid has picked up on it.
The percipience of children astounds me at times.
It dazzles and delights me.
I thanked Liam and pretended that there was a speck of dust in my eye as I cradled the dinosaur - then I told him that I would just look after him for a while. When I asked him what the dinosaur’s name was Liam told me that he didn’t have one yet. He then told me I could choose one if I wanted. I asked him if it was a boy or a girl and he snorted and said that it was a boy of course.
He told me that there weren’t any girl dinosaurs.
What was I thinking?
I then suggested that we could perhaps name the dinosaur Dave and he nodded his little blonde head in agreement.
So Dave it is.
I poured us both tall glasses of milk and we then reclined on my couch with our feet up on the table.
It was a blokey moment.
“How was your day then Liam?” I enquired.
He paused in careful contemplation before declaring that it was good.
“How so small friend?” I asked.
There was a bit of deliberation again before he said, “Daniel ate all of his breakfast and Mummy let us pat the dog in the park and we played on the swings”
“That sounds pretty much like perfection”
“How come your Mum and Dad and brother and kids and family don’t live here with you?” he then asked.
“It’s complicated dude and they are all grown up. Besides there is only room here for me”
“That nice lady who was here was your little girl wasn’t she?”
“Yes she is my daughter Liam and she was visiting from Australia and she is a nice lady isn’t she?”
“She gave me milk too and she read me stories”
“I know she did”
“Do you miss your brother?”
“Every minute of every day”
“But he will be here soon?”
“Next week dude”
"Wednesday" I added and emphasized. The day of my brother's arrival in Singapore has been almost a daily enquiry from Liam and he seems almost as excited as I am about the impending visit.
“Can I come over and visit?”
“Anytime you want to but I told you we are going away for awhile”
“Yeah I remember up on a big mountain. Can I bring Daniel?”
We both had a big gulp of milk and I asked Liam if he wanted a biscuit and he said he did but he better get home. He told me he didn’t want Daniel to wake up and miss him.
I walked him to his door and said goodnight and he hugged my leg as he is want to do nowadays. As I turned to leave he said, “Hey Peter”
“Brothers are good aren’t they?”
“They certainly are mate” I replied.