“I can’t take you to the park, sweetie, because the Giants are about to start playing.” My mother speaks to me as I tug on her hand in the direction of the park. I don’t actually know where the park is, I’m just trying to pull my mother in the opposite direction of the football stadium.
“Sweetie, your father is waiting at the stadium for us.” I don’t care. I want to go to the park. There will be too many people in the stadium, and I will be made to sit down for hours. I want to run around. I want to chase the pigeons in the park. I will catch one someday. I keep tugging on my mother’s arm.
My mother stops her gentle efforts at dragging me and crouches so that she is right next to my face.
“Max,” her voice is calm but serious, “I want you to listen to me. Your father works every day so we can have things. Food, and the apartment, and your toys and clothes. He has to earn money to pay for those things.”
I don’t care. I want to go to the park.
“Max, you know how your father brings you a toy after he comes home from work sometimes?” I do. I like my cars and trucks.
“This game we’re going to is like a toy for your father. He had to spend money to get tickets, and he has not ever been able to buy a toy for himself. Please come to the game for your father. I think you will enjoy it if you try.” I don’t care. I want to go to the park.
“Jesus Christ, Max.” She picks me up, and carries me toward the stadium. I scream and thrash, but no matter how much, she doesn’t stop. She is much bigger than me. I don’t want to go to the park.