The Boy in the Bin

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7) LAST FREE WEEKEND

Raphael and Mom arrived back home a little before 4 P.M. in the afternoon. Sylvia went off to the bedroom, to drop off her packages. Raphael plunked himself down in front of the TV set to enjoy his cartoons. Raul must be at his office, catching up on paperwork. On a usual day, he would be home catching a game or working on a project in his workshop.

“Honey,” Sylvia called out, “What do you want for dinner?”

“I’m not hungry Mommy.”

“Not now silly,” Sylvia clarified as she entered the living room. “I meant when Daddy comes home. Do you want to eat here or go out to dinner?”

“I nwant to ride the horses again,” Raphael shouted.

Sylvia figured out where Raphael wanted to go. They took him last fall to Pier 62 Carousel and he loved the trip. In the Chelsea district of the city, the park was close to where they lived. They featured a merry-go-round attraction, but also offered restaurants and gift shops in the vicinity. Sylvia considered the idea and agreed going again seemed like a good idea.

“Let’s go tomorrow honey,” she decided, “and we can make the trip a full day.”

“OK, Mommy,” Raphael replied. “I nliked riding the nhorses and looking at all the nfunny people.”

So this took care of their Sunday activities, but what about tonight? On a normal Saturday night, she and Raul would go out to a social gathering with their friends, while Natasha stayed over to babysit.

However, on this day, Raul said he needed to go to his office and didn’t say what time when he would be back; which is why Sylvia went shopping . This forced Sylvia to decide whether to cook.

Sylvia did not like to cook.

“I’m going to call Daddy and find out when he will be home,” she declared. “Perhaps we can go out for a pizza tonight.”

“Yea, “Raphael hissed, “I nlove pizza.”

Sylvia called Raul’s office but got no answer. She convinced herself he must putt in a full work day because he left the house before she got up this morning. She didn’t like the fact Raul worked so much. He insisted he needed to keep his nose to the grindstone and try to make full partner in the business.

She waited another fifteen minutes and try to call him again. She pulled out a phone book and looked at the directory for pizza restaurants . As she perused the listings, Raul walked in through the door.

“Well, here’s my long lost husband,” she remarked, “how long did you work today? I tried calling the office, but I guess you left before my call.”

“Honey,” Raul complained, “today needs to be removed from my calendar because I would like to forget the whole day. One of the other associates screwed up the contracts for General Electric. You can guess who needed to fix everything before the meeting on Monday.”

“Oh, you poor dear,” she cooed. “How can I help you?”

“Being here with you is helping enough honey.”

“Raphael and I decided we would like to go out for pizza tonight,” Sylvia announced. “Does the idea sound OK with you?”

“Sure,” he agreed. “I think I remember an eatery over on E. 6th and Avenue A. Best of all; the place offers a bar, which my body is screaming for at the moment.”

“Tomorrow,” she continued, “I thought we might take Raphael to the Carousel at Pier 62 on the Hudson. He wants to ride on the merry-go-round again.”

“I wouldn’t mind going too,” Raul affirmed. “We can make a day of our road trip.”

“You read my mind,” Sylvia answered.

Raul changed his clothes and put on his casual wear. Sylvia, always wanting to be stylish, wore a silk chiffon summer dress, while Raphael wore shorts and his new baseball cap. They all went out for a wonderful meal at the Street Cafe.

Since they rode a cab to the restaurant, Raul decided tonight would be the perfect time for him to over-indulge in his favorite drink; the Mojito. After pushing four down his throat, he appeared to be insensitive to pain and got a little ‘touchy-feely’ with Sylvia. She pushed his hand away as she nuzzled up to his neck.

“Save your energy for tomorrow night,” she whispered with a smile, “you’re going to need vitamins too.”

The next day after breakfast, they took another cab over to the Pier 62 section of the city. Raphael acted like sat on pins and needles with excitement.

As soon as he caught sight of the waterfront carousel, he hopped up and down in his seat with joy; so much his hat flew off his head. Sylvia smiled at Raul, knowing they made their little boy super happy.

Pier 62 Carousel is the centerpiece of Hudson River Park’s new open space river edge venue at Pier 62 in New York. Embellished with 33 hand-carved wooden animal figures native to the area, the signature carousel sports a ‘living’ green roof shielding revelers from the sun. It allows kids to whirl about under a rainbow of sparkling LED lights and playful music from the state-of-the-art sound system.

Visitors can enjoy their kids smiling in supreme joy, as they view harbor seals, sea horses, green turtles, black bear cubs, butterflies and dozens of other animals behind a wall of safety glass.

The park is a popular place for tourists, but their real audience is kid’s birthday parties. The carousel building itself opens out to face Pier 62 and 63. These make up a waterfront wonderland of over nine acres of grass, trees, gardens and the mighty Hudson River.

Raul and Sylvia enjoyed the moment watching Raphael riding the carousel and grinning from like a circus jester. Later in the afternoon, they toured the stunning garden at the piers entrance. Contained within are an astounding variety of flowering plants, shrubs and trees and the design takes advantage of all four seasons of the year. They feature a diverse assortment of buds, blooms, blades and berries, adding beauty and color to this magnificent setting by the river.

On their way to the taxicab stand, they stopped by a restaurant called ’Wichcraft, and enjoyed hand-crafted deli sandwiches, made in the traditional New York City fashion. Sitting at an outside bench, Raphael’s gaze focused on a German Shepherd mounting a Miniature Poodle along a row of bushes outside the restaurant. He sat eating his sandwich and watching the dogs while Sylvia closed her eyes to enjoy a light breeze twisting its way across the park.

“Mommy,” He wondered “What are they doing?”

“Who are you talking about Honey,” Sylvia inquired, with her eyes still closed.

“Those two dogs,” he nagged.

Sylvia’s eyes flashed open and she turned around on the bench to check Raphael. She followed his gaze to the line of bushes and the shock of the sight registered. In an instant, her thoughts calculated the most accurate, but innocent answer.

“Oh nothing, Raphael,” she told him. “They are only being dogs.”

“But the big dog is trying to get on the little white one,” Raphael pressed.

“They’re making a new puppy Raphael,” she explained. “Here, check out the man standing by the fence with the big balloons.”

Raphael turned around to find the balloon vendor and lost interest in the animal kingdom because Sylvia made no big issue. Had he glanced up at his mothers face, the smile she attempted to suppress might cause him to ask more questions. A smile, because she planned this for Raul later tonight when Raphael went to bed.

Raphael fell asleep in the cab on the way home, after having such an exciting two days of activity. Perhaps the lasting memories of this last weekend of freedom would be good for Raphael. Freedom from responsibilities would be difficult now because her son would start school.

She hoped also, his memories of the day would be more than merely two dogs mating. She recognized from now on, his life would be forever changed.

Both parents hoped the change would be for the best.

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