One evening, Isaac came into Charlie’s room looking worried. Charlie looked up from the book he was reading. “What’s up, Dad?” he asked.
“I was just…Oh, hey, what are you reading?” Isaac asked.
“The one with the dinosaur on roller skates,” Charlie said. He turned the book around to show the cover. It showed a dinosaur in a cowboy hat.
“But that’s the cowboy dinosaur book,” Isaac said. He put his finger in the book to mark Charlie’s place and took the book. He read the back cover. “It says that ‘the dinosaurs have come out of hiding again, this time in the Wild West.’ There’s no mention of a dinosaur on roller skates.”
Charlie laughed and took the book back, opening it again to where he’d been reading. “But he’s there, and he’s my favorite character. He’s a messenger and can outrun the pony express.”
“Well, I guess dinosaurs can’t ride horses, so roller skates would work. How do they make the skates big enough? Do they use wagons?” Isaac asked. He sat down in the desk chair.
“No, wagons are made out of wood. They’d probably break. They use train cars,” Charlie said.
“Wouldn’t train cars be too big?” Isaac asked.
“I don’t know. Maybe they would be. Maybe they’re small train cars,” Charlie said.
“Do the dinosaurs eat the horses?” Isaac asked.
“No, they buy cows from the cowboys and eat lots of steak. Unless they’re herbivores, of course,” Charlie said. He pointed to a picture of a cow on the front of the book. “See?” he said.
“Running messages must be profitable,” Isaac said.
“Maybe the cowboys gave them a discount,” Charlie said.
“I would,” Isaac said.
Charlie nodded. “Yeah, ‘cause dinosaurs are amazing.”
“And scary,” Isaac said. Charlie laughed, and Isaac laughed too.
“Did you need something, Dad?” Charlie asked.
“Oh, yeah, I did. I forgot what I needed, though. I’ll come back when I remember,” Isaac said.
“Bye for now,” Charlie said. Isaac left.
Twenty minutes later, he was back. Charlie put his book down. “Did you remember?” Charlie asked.
“Yeah, I …Oh, look! The neighbor’s dog is in your mother’s garden. I’ll be back,” Isaac said. He ran out the back door and chased the dog away. Charlie cheered him on from his bedroom window. He watched as Isaac got a piece of a board and some nails and patched the hole in the fence.
Finally, Isaac returned. ‘What was I saying earlier?” he asked.
Charlie laughed. “Dad, did you forget again? You were going to tell me something.”
“I’ll be back when I remember,” Isaac said.
“Bye, Dad,” Charlie said.
Ten minutes later, Charlie was brushing his teeth. Isaac peeked in through the open door. “Charlie, there you are,” he said.
“Did you remember what you were going to tell me?” Charlie asked.
“Yes, I…” Isaac began.
“Honey, can you come here for a second,” Marianne called from the kitchen.
“I’ll be back,” Isaac said.
Charlie was in his pajamas setting out his clothes for the next day when Isaac came back five minutes later. “What did Mom want?” Charlie asked.
“She needed help opening a jar,” Isaac said.
“Do you remember what you were going to say? Charlie asked.
“Yes,” Isaac said. He looked around. Nothing happened. He smiled. “The jar you gave me for Christmas is empty. Could you give me a refill?”
“How can it be empty? It’s imaginary,” Charlie said. “Imagine it’s full.”
“No, you blew real kisses into it, and I’m all out,” Isaac said.
“Fine,” Charlie said. “I’ll go blow more kisses into the jar.” He followed Isaac down the hall. Marianne was there writing in her journal.
“Charlie, while you’re here, can you top off my jar?” she asked. “It’s almost empty.”
“Guys, it’s all imaginary,” Charlie said.
“No it’s not,” his mom said.
She handed Charlie her little jar that had colorful pieces of tissue paper glued on the outside. Isaac handed him his matching jar. Charlie sighed and started blowing kisses into the jars.
Marianne took her jar and tipped it over her hand. Then she set the jar down, rubbed her palms together and patted them on her face. “Much better,” she said. “Thank you.”
Isaac patted some kisses onto his face too. “Thanks Charlie,” he said. “Oh, look at the time. Let’s get you tucked in.”
“Are you going to forget what you’re doing again?” Charlie asked. “That was funny.”
Isaac smiled. “No, I think I’ll be fine. I have you there to remind me this time.”