My eight year old son, right before going to sleep, says he wants to go on a trip to Lima, Peru — the place I was born in and grew up before coming to Los Angeles — so he can see me as a little kid.
What can I say? There is something so charming about the thought that travel, from his perspective, could be not just about going from point A to point B on a map, but from being a forty-something year old man to a child his same age. So, as he is all bundled up inside the blanket, and his eyes struggle to remain open, I hold his hand and wonder what such a trip would look like.
There are some complications, of course. For starters, I would have to figure out at what stage to transform myself from my current physical state of a somewhat responsible parental figure to the little kid I once was, the one my son wishes to get in contact with. I would venture to say it should happen sometime after we got through security at LAX; if not, that would most likely guarantee us a false start, and the two of us kids would be put in a taxi by a TSA representative and sent back home to my wife. The bathroom in the airplane? There, I would walk out with oversized pants dragging along the aisle and empty ends of the shirt sleeves dangling alongside my reduced body. Can I sit here? Hey, it’s your papi, for real. In that transformed state, it would be hard to scold him for playing his video games too long, or deny him the coke he is asking the air hostess, who is trying to figure out what is going on here. Needless to say, it might be better to leave this transformation business, for now, as a literary device. If not, we will never get to Lima.
Not to be a party-pooper, but interspersed with the sweet moments of recovering and sharing lost time with my son, there are serious matters to consider. Take the fake police alarm on top of my cousin’s black Toyota when he comes to pick us up at the airport. I imagine he would be the one to pick us up, as that was the way the last time I was in Lima, about twenty years ago, after I finished college. Things were pretty awful back then. There was terrorism, cholera, bombs, black-outs, bodyguards, kidnapping — you know, the usual stuff.
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