[Photo:Daley Hake]

So there I was standing at the door of my new home. Well it is almost a year old. But the street still smells of 2×4’s being cut and nailed together. That woodshed smell. Like something is coming to life. So I still get to call it new. It was 95 degrees outside. But I just stood there.
The day had weighed on me. Heavy conversations sat on my shoulders while my response to these talks ran laps around my head. “I should have said…” “Man I sounded like an a**” “If only I would have shut up”. I was about to walk into my house carrying everyone I had spent time with that day. And Heather was not expecting company.

So as I stared at the little peep hole on the door, I could see myself. Only upside down. I still can’t figure out why it does that. I looked tired. Worried. Hot. Worn. Old. On the other side of the door I could hear Heather asking the girls to pick up their Polly Pocket toys. I could tell by the tone of her voice that they were not listening. I selfishly hoped Losiah was napping. I could not hear the hum of the AC so I knew that I would not be greeted by a whoosh of cold air as I opened the door. “Why does she not turn on the freaking air?” I thought. There is nothing worse than arguing with your wife in your head before you even get in the door. I took a deep breath and turned the handle.

I don’t quite remember the next few minutes. I am sure they were filled with the humdrum of a father getting home from work. Trash going out. Milk being poured. Hugs being given. Bills being stared at.

But before I knew it, there I was. On an alligator infested island. Wendy was screaming at me to please hurry and rescue Jane. She was about to fall off the boat and be eaten by the alligator. So I dove off the island and swam toward Jane. She was screaming for me to save her. The alligator was close behind me. I could feel him catching up. I swam. Swiftly. When I got to the boat I told Jane to jump. She did not want to. I told her she had to trust me. So she closed her eyes and leaped. I caught her and carried her back to the island. Wendy was thrilled. The alligator was licking my left toe. We all jumped in the water and tickled the alligator till he farted. Then we just stared at the clouds and sighed. Another adventure. Finished.

I took a break from staring at the clouds and peeked over at Seanna. I wanted to know what she was thinking. Did she know that the island was a sofa? That the boat was a coffee table? That Jane was her sister Sohaila? That the alligator was Losiah? That she was, in fact, Seanna?

“Thank you Peter” she said.
“For what Wendy?” I responded.
“For saving my sister from the alligator.”

I was still hot, a bit grumpy, and tired. But for 9 minutes, I went toe to toe with a Korean alligator and won.

Tomorrow I won’t take quite as long to open the door.

Check out this whole series on Faith, Family, and Fatherhood here