I left the family sitting at the dinner table and got in the car to drive across town, following directions scribbled onto a sheet of notebook paper. I got lost twice before I finally turned my van into the driveway and climbed out into the dark. A light was on inside the house, but he met me at my car. He handed me a paper shopping bag, and we self-consciously rifled through it's contents together. I thanked him nervously. Then I handed him $300, and drove away.
All my son's money, along with what we'd contributed for his birthday. Handed to a teenage boy in a driveway, for a used video game system with two games and all the trimmings.
"A steal!" The Man and my son had insisted. It was just listed on Craigslist hours before. Driving away I was sick to my stomach. The entire ride home thoughts battled through my head.
'I should have made him set it up for me and show me it all works. What was I thinking? What if it doesn't work?'
'He seemed like a nice boy. Plus I know where he lives.'
'Did he really even live there? I didn't even go in the house. I am sure there is some rule about that. I should have at least made sure that was his house.'
'Lord please let this thing work. Please don't let me be the mom who spent my kids savings on a scam.'
'He really did seem like a nice kid.'
When I finally walked into the door to my house and handed the bulging American Eagle bag to my husband, I snapped. "Please set this thing up and make sure it works before I throw up."
He did. And it did.
And Brandon played his game. And I sat on the sofa silently giving thanks for my temporarily restored faith in humanity. While watching him perfect gunning down aliens with a machine gun. The irony was not lost on me.
Happy Birthday Kiddo. Fire away. Tomorrow, we'll be getting you some sports games for that thing.