Charlie’s Room: Too Late?

It was finally time for the release of the latest dinosaur book. The local bookstore was just a few streets from work, so Isaac was planning on picking up a copy of the book on the way home from work. It was so exciting! He had a hard time concentrating at work.

Unfortunately, there was a meeting scheduled an hour before the end of the work day. The meeting wasn’t an hour long. It was three hours long. Everyone left the conference room grumbling.

As Isaac walked to his car, he watched the stores close up. Was it really that late? He walked a little faster, even though he knew that a few seconds wouldn’t make much of a difference. It felt like it took forever to get to his car and drive to the book store.

Fortunately, the bookstore was still open. Isaac hurried inside and looked around the room. The dinosaur display was easy to spot. There was a giant green cardboard dinosaur holding up a banner near a table by the windows.

Isaac hurried over to the table. Sadly, the table was empty. Isaac checked the bestseller shelves and the children’s books. He found some of the other dinosaur books, but not the new one. He went to the customer service desk.

“I’m looking for the new dinosaur book,” he said.

The woman at the desk looked tired, but she smiled anyway. “Did you reserve a copy?” She typed something into the computer. “What’s your last name?”

Isaac felt his hopes crack into tiny pieces. “I didn’t know it was possible to reserve a copy. Do you have any left?”

The woman sighed and shook her head. “They sold out pretty quickly. All we have left are the reserved copies. We’ll get more in stock later in the week. If you give me your name and number, we will call you when they come in.”

Later in the week? Isaac didn’t want to wait that long. Charlie would be so disappointed. And how would they avoid hearing all about the story before they got a chance to read it? Isaac was sad, but smiled anyway. “No thank you.”

He drove to another bookstore. He drove to two department stores. He even checked the grocery store. He couldn’t find a copy of the new dinosaur book.

Isaac drove home feeling discouraged. He could just imagine Charlie waiting for him by the door with hopeful eyes. He didn’t want to see that hope turn to disappointment. But what could he do?

He should have gone to the bookstore at lunch. No, he should have reserved a copy of the book. Maybe it wasn’t too late to try a few more stores?

But he was already late getting home. Dinner was probably already on the table. He couldn’t make Marianne and Charlie wait any longer. Maybe he should have picked up ice cream at the grocery store. That way he wouldn’t be coming home empty-handed. Marianne and Charlie love ice cream. Was it too late to go back to the grocery store? Probably.

Isaac drove home. He went inside, and quietly closed the door. Charlie wasn’t waiting for him by the door. Isaac could hear Marianne and Charlie talking in the kitchen. They sounded happy.

Isaac quietly changed his shoes. He dropped one, and it made a thumping sound as it fell. Charlie’s happy voice called out from the kitchen, “Dad’s home!” He came racing into the entryway.

Isaac took a deep breath. “Charlie, I didn’t get the dinosaur book.”

Charlie smiled. “That’s okay.”

“It is?”

Marianne appeared in the kitchen doorway. “It is. I ordered a copy online, and it came today.”

Charlie and Marianne grinned at Isaac. Isaac smiled back, feeling relieved. It was good to be married to someone brilliant. “Well done,” he said. Marianne’s smile grew just a little brighter.

“So, are you going to read me a chapter at bedtime?” Charlie asked.

“I have a better idea,” Isaac said. “Let’s read a chapter now. And then maybe a few more. We can stay up a bit late. It’s Saturday tomorrow.”

Marianne tousled Charlie’s hair. “Go get your pajamas on. I’ll go get the book.”

Isaac raised a hand to volunteer. “I’ll pop some popcorn.”

Charlie clapped his hands. “It’s a party. A book party! I’ll be right back.” He raced down the hall to his room.

Marianne chuckled. Isaac pulled her into a hug. “Thanks for taking care of that. My meeting went late and everything was just awful for a while,” he said.

Marianne hugged him back, and then they let go with a smile. “No problem. I’ve been looking forward to this too. I’m sorry I forgot to tell you I’d ordered the book.”

Isaac shrugged. “It turned out to be a nice surprise.”

Charlie appeared at that moment, already wearing his pajamas. “Where’s the book? And the popcorn? I’ve been waiting forever for the new dinosaur book.”

Isaac and Marianne hurried to do their tasks, and the book party started soon after. It was worth the wait.