Anyway, as we were touring the school and looking at the kindergarten classrooms and cubbies, J.P. suddenly stopped dead in his tracks. "That's Victoria's cubbie," he said. I looked inside it and, sure enough, there was a photograph of Victoria stuck on the wall inside the cubbie, above a girls' coat, books, etc.
(By way of explanation, Victoria was J.P.'s best friend at Children's House last year. They played together on the playground every morning and afternoon. For the most part, they were inseparable. At times, they were like an old married couple. In a argument one day, then back together the next day. Victoria matriculated to USN this fall and J.P., who is a year younger, stayed at Children's House for K-Club.)
As J.P. stared into Victoria's cubbie, I saw a kindergarten class approaching in an orderly line. I noticed Victoria walking in the line, so I called her name. She looked up at me, then saw J.P. as he turned around. Without saying a word, Victoria bolted from her place in line, ran to J.P., and threw her arms around him, hugging him tightly. J.P. didn't know what to do, but he hugged back.
Still without saying a word, Victoria let J.P. go and ran back to her place in line. J.P. just stood there, stunned, and watched her bet back in line and walk into her classroom. Jude and I exchanged a look and watched J.P. as he slowly came out of his reverie.
It was "a moment."
As we watched Victoria and J.P. hugging, time stood still, just briefly. Everything else melted away and it was just Victoria and J.P. In life, "moments" like that don't come along very often. I'm not sure I knew a 5 1/2 year old could have a "moment," but J.P. sure did. And I was there to witness it.
A couple of days later, Jude picked up J.P. at Children's House after school. When he got in her Honda Pilot, she asked him how his day went. By the way he was acting, Jude could tell he hadn't had a good day.
"What's wrong?" Jude asked.
"Alice said she won't be my friend anymore," J.P. replied. "Why," Jude inquired?
Apparently, Alice came up to J.P. on the playground earlier that day and announced to him that he was going to marry her. If he refused, she wasn't going to be his friend anymore.
"I can't," J.P. said. "I'm going to marry Victoria." Continuing, J.P. said "you can be a bridesmaid." That didn't sit well with Alice, of course, and she stormed off. Women start this kind of stuff early, don't they?
Later, the children were lined up, waiting to go back inside the building, when Alice walked angrily up to J.P.
"John Patrick," Alice said, "you've got two choices. Marry me (first choice) or my great grandfather will kill you." (second choice) Again, women start this kind of stuff early.
J.P. took Alice literally, as is his way. He was scared. When Jude asked him if he really believed Alice's great grandfather would kill him, he responded "yes." "Why?" Jude asked. "Because he was in the war," J.P. explained.
I am going to tell that story at J.P.'s rehearsal dinner, the night before he gets married. And I am going to laugh as hard then as I did the night Jude told it to me.