Kiko and Ikor
By Carl Kopman
It’s September in the year 2016. I am 75 years old and you are not yet five and a half years old. You’ve just started kindergarten. I pick you up on Tuesdays and we go off to the YMCA for an hour of swimming in a shallow heated pool. You like to dive-bomb off the tiled edge splashing me with a spray of water and laughter twice your size. We also go to the gym where you arrange, climb upon, and jump large leather objects you move about to suit your purposes. They are bigger than you, but you heft them about and play wild for a time.
Somewhere, towards the end of the day, you persuade me not to visit the library, but to take you to the Five Little Monkeys toy store where, after much deliberation over many toys, you choose a Lego Omnicon; Ikor, Creature of Fire. At home, you assemble all two hundred seventy-six pieces from a twenty-seven page instruction booklet while I take the same amount of time, an hour or so, to chop onions and red peppers, grate cheese, slice an avocado, grill a chicken thigh and heat some beans on the back burner of the stove.
But what really gets to my heart are two things you say aloud while connecting those tiny pieces of plastic to their proper positions.
First you, my young destiny. say, as I search for a pot in which to put the beans, “You know Umpa, right now is the future of the past!”
I notice, as you struggle to secure Ikor’s wings onto his Lego shoulders, that you contort your tongue out the corner of your mouth in the same way as your father was prone to do at your age.
And the second thing you say just as you finish your Ikor creation and I am preparing our tostadas.
“You know Umpa, if I didn’t finish this… the future would never be the same.”
And I smile and you don’t. You are bound in flight with Ikor for the living room where your grandmother awaits the call for dinner.
I think of the grandfather I never had. And what the future might have been.
But for now, I set the silverware and napkins. You return to devour your tostada. Ikhor, Creature of Fire, stands wings spread behind the pepper grinder protecting the present moment.