The Boy in the Bin

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6) SHOPPING DAY

The incidences of the night before became a distant memory for Raphael on this Saturday morning. He assumed his actions upset his father because Daddy never threatened him with a spanking before. Petty instances are a natural occurrence within a lot of families.

Things are important in a child’s life one moment and a universe away in the next; even the day after. The only thing Raphael thought about at the moment; how he wanted breakfast because his stomach growled. He went out into the kitchen and fixed himself a bowl of Cheerios with Chocolate Milk and sat eating his fine cuisine.

Raphael’s diet would never get an award for being the greatest. Even though Natasha cooked wholesome meals for the family, she kept him supplied with a constant source of junk foods, like cookies, cakes, and candy. This resulted in mother taking Raphael shopping for school clothes every fall.

Sylvia disliked the low-end products at Target, K-Mart, and Wal-Mart. For her little boy, nothing but the best would do. Well, the best within reason. She and Raphael took public transport up to the SoHo section of town, for a trip to Bloomingdales.

Raphael never rode on a bus before, so this would be an exciting trip for him. He sat by the window and kept his eyes peeled, as the big city bus meandered through traffic past one city block after another.

“Mommy,” Raphael marveled, “How do nyou know where we are going? Aren’t nyou afraid we’ll get lost?”

“No honey,” Sylvia answered, “Mommy rides this bus all the time going to work. New York City is easy to navigate because all the Streets go North and South and all the Avenues go East and West. We are going to Bloomingdales on Broadway. Shopping won’t take us too long.”

Mom and son got off their ride at the 500 Block of Broadway. Right near the corner stood a huge building with giant white columns and a sign reading out the store name; ‘Bloomingdales.’ Sylvia grabbed Raphael’s hand and guided him into the entrance. The first stop for Sylvia and Raphael was a store directory; to find the children’s clothes section.

This shopping trip turned out to be a real adventure for Raphael. From the onset, he viewed so much hustle-bustle going on, his head kept in constant movement. Things routinely caught his attention. All the stores stood out, lit in bright colors and all seemed busy.

“C’mon Raphael,” Sylvia bubbled, “We’re going to ride on an escalator.”

Sylvia led her son towards a twin set of moving stairs. Raphael stared in amazement. He experienced nothing like this, as he stood watching people stepping on and off this mechanical monster with teeth. He couldn’t figure out where the stairs went when they got to the top of its flight.

“We’re going to step on these stairs,” Sylvia spoke , “and ride all the way up to the 2nd floor.”

“Mommy,” Rafael quivered, “I’m scared. It looks like nthose teeth might eat me.”

“No Honey, you’ll be OK,” she reassured, “you keep watching until the stair pops up, then you step on the stair. Trust me, this will be fun.”

Mother and son walked up to the edge of the stairs and Sylvia assisted Raphael onboard the moving monster. As they traveled up to the next level, Sylvia smiled at the broad smile showing on her sons face. When they arrived at the end of the escalator’s travel, they both stepped off.

“Wow, Mommy, what a fun time,” Raphael chirped, “Can we do another ride?”

“When we leave honey,” she explained, “but now, we are going to take an elevator up to the 5th floor.”

The 2nd floor in the mezzanine; featured both shops and an assortment of restaurants. Sylvia located a bank of elevators and they moved into the throng of people; all waiting for the car going up. Raphael stood in total observation mode, watching the numbers change above the doors. When the ‘2’ lit up, a set of double doors opened up into a yawn and the crowd filed into a darkened box.

Raphael paid close attention as his mother gingerly press the number ‘5’ on the panel. One by one, the other passengers selected their floors. With slow deliberation, the doors closed and for a brief moment gravity left, as if the ground beneath Raphael’s feet fell away. This sensation repeated for each stop until they came to the 5th floor, where Sylvia assisted her amazed little boy out the doorway and into the children’s shop.

“When we get done shopping,” Sylvia announced, “I’m going to buy you a delicious lunch and we can ride the escalator again.”

Raphael emitted a ‘Wheeee’ a sound, making Sylvia laugh. They headed over to the boys section. In an hour, Sylvia picked out four color-coordinated outfits. Two pairs of sneaks, a pair of shoes, socks, underwear and anything else she thought he needed.

She seemed to be miffed because Raphael needed to wear a husky cut of clothing, which cost extra; but being alone with her son made the trip worthwhile. As they left the department, Raphael caught sight of a display of baseball caps.

“Mommy,” he begged, “can I get one of nthose hats?”

“Sure you can,” she told him, “Run over and pick out the one you like and make sure the fit is right.”

Raphael almost tripped in his dash to the stylish arrangements of hats. The display presented many different hats from cartoon characters to sports teams, to caps with written messages like ‘I♥NY’.

He took his time looking them all over and decided on a black and white stripped ball cap depicting the letters ‘N’ and ‘Y’ interlaced. This design signified the official logo for his favorite team, The Yankees. He pulled the hat off the rack and tried it on. The cap fit like a glove to a hand and he ran back to his smiling mother who monitored his entire process of selection.

“How do you like this Mommy?”

“You didn’t tell me you became a Yankees fan,” Sylvia remarked. “I guess you must’ve been influenced by your father.”

Sylvia paid for everything with her credit card and with their booty, proceeded back towards the elevators. Raphael wore his new possession and grinned from ear to ear. They rode back down to 2nd Floor and proceeded to the restaurant section.

“What would you like for lunch,” Sylvia questioned her little Yankees fan.

“I want a peanut butter and jelly sandwich,” Raphael replied.

“Oh, I don’t think they make them here.” Sylvia declared, “How about a hamburger?”

“OK,” he agreed, “and a shake.”

Sylvia ordered for the both ; two hamburgers, two shakes and a large order of French fries. They sat at one of the tables eating and Sylvia asked if Raphael liked the excitement of his new adventure in school.

“I’m scared Mommy,” he moaned. “Can you come with me?”

“Honey,” Sylvia assured, “you are going to enjoy lots of fun times and meet lots of people. Remember the escalator ride when we first came in? Many people won’t ride because they are scared. Mommy is proud of her brave little boy. I will be proud of you again when you go to school too.”

Sylvia couldn’t help but experience a swell of pride at this bonding experience with her son. Raphael still presented a nervous energy, but the hamburger and his new hat did much to take his mind off school for the time being.

They finished their lunch, and as Sylvia promised, they rode the escalator down to the ground floor heading towards the exit. They walked down to the corner and waited at the bus stand for their ride home. While they stood waiting patiently, a dirty, grubby looking man came up to Sylvia and asked her for some spare change.

“I’m sorry,” she confessed, “but I don’t carry cash.”

The man gave her a nasty glare and shifted his focus to Raphael’s new hat. With one quick move, he snapped Raphael’s hat off his head and barked, “Well, I’ll take this for now.”

What happened next, Sylvia still finds amazing. Without even blinking, Raphael snapped his leg out in front of him, and kicked the bum right square in the balls. Here stood a full grown man about six foot tall, being taken down by a three foot, pudgy 5-year-old. As he lay on the ground in severe pain, Raphael calmly reached over and took his hat back.

Another man who stood waiting for a bus glanced at Raphael and his mother and back to Raphael. He only shook his head, as if he accepted the commonness of this event. The bus pulled up to the stop and mother and son boarded, leaving the would-be thief still on the ground in agony.

“Where did you learn a karate trick,” Sylvia demanded as soon as they got seated.

“I like nwatching Ninja Turtles on TV,” he bragged, “and nthat move came from Leonardo.”

Sylvia couldn’t think of an answer to explain the situation to Raphael. She assumed he didn’t realize the sensitivity of a man’s private parts. Though, she secretly held a pride in her heart, because he refused to back down in a dangerous situation.

“Honey,” she said, “I agree you protected your property, but men are pretty sensitive where you kicked him. You can do real bad damage by kicking someone between the legs on their body.”

“He took nmy hat.” Raphael responded. “It’s nmy hat.”

Sylvia let the matter drop. She didn’t want to get into any argument with her son about wrong and right. In reality she believed her son acted correctly.

Still, the incident disturbed her.

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