Ernest, or Parent for a Day


I HAD been talking rather loosely about the bringing-up of children. They had been lately appearing to me in the guise of infinitely prevalent little beings who impressed themselves almost too vividly upon one’s consciousness. My summer vacat ion I had passed in a household where a vivacious little boy of two years and a solemn little boy of six months had turned their mother into a household slave. I had seen walks, conversations, luncheons, and all the amenities of summer civilized life, shot to pieces by the indomitable need of imperious little children to be taken care of. Little boys who came running at you smiling, stubbed their toes, and were instantly transformed into wailing inconsolables; babies who woke importunately at ten o’clock in the evening, and had to be brought down warm and blinking before the fire; human beings who were not self-regulating, but to whom every hard surface, every protuberance, was a menace to happiness, and in whom every want and sensation was an order and claim upon somebody else — these were new offerings to my smooth and independent existence. They interested and perturbed me.

The older little boy, with his sunny luxuriance of hair and cheek, was always on the point of saying something novel and disconcerting. The baby, with his deep black eyes, seemed to be waiting silently and in soft anticipation for life. He would look at you so calmly and yet so eagerly, and give you a pleasant satisfaction that just your mere presence, your form, your movement, were etching new little lines on his cortex, sending new little shoots of feeling through his nerves. You were being part of his educat ion just by letting his consciousness look at you. I liked particularly to hold my watch to his ear, and see the sudden grave concentration of his face, as he called all his mind to the judgment of this arresting phenomenon. I would love to accost him as he lay murmuring in his carriage, and to check his little breakings into tears by quick movements of my hands. He would watch me intently for a while unt il the fact of his little restless woe would come upon him again. I was challenged then to something more startling,and the woe would disappear in little short gasps. But I would find that he was subject to the law of diminishing returns. The moment would arrive when the woe submerged everything in a wail, and his mother would have to be called to nurse or coddle him in the magical motherly way.

The baby I found perhaps more interesting than his little brother, for the baby’s moods had more style to them. The brother could be transformed from golden prattlingncss to raging storm, with the most disconcerting quickness. He could want the most irrational things with an intensity that got itself expressed in hypnotic reiteration. Some smouldering will-to-power in one’s self told one that a child should never be given the thing that he most wanted; and yet in five minutes one would have given him one’s soul, to be rid of the brazen rod which he pounded through one. But I could not keep away from him. He and his baby brother absorbed me, and when I contemplated their mother’s life, I had many a solemn sense of the arduousness of being a parent. I thought of the long years ahead of them, and the incalculability of their manifestations. I shuddered and remained, gloating, I am afraid, a little over the opportunity of enjoyment without responsibility.

All these things I was recounting the other evening after dinner to a group of friends who professionally look after the minds and bodies of the neglected. I was explaining my absorption, and the perils and merciless tyranny of the mother’s life, and my thankfulness at having been so much in, and yet so much not of, the child-world. I was not responsible, and the policeman mother could be called in at any time to soothe or to quell. I could always maintain the amused aloofness which is my usual attitude toward children. And I made the point that parenthood must become less arduous after the child is a self-regulating little organism, and can be trusted not to commit suicide inadvertently over every threshold, can feed himself, dress himself, and take himself reasonably around. I even suggested unwarily that after five or six the tyranny was much mitigated.

There was strong dissent. Just at that age, I was told, the real responsibilities began. I was living in a fool’s paradise of bachelordom if I thought that at six children were grown-up. One of the women before the fire made it her business to get children adopted. I had a sense of foreboding before she spoke. She promptly confirmed my intuition by offering to endow me with an infant of six years, for a day or for as long as I would take him. The hearty agreement of the rest amazed and alarmed me. They seemed delighted at the thought of my becoming parent for a day. I should have Ernest. They all knew Ernest; and I should have him. They seemed to have no concern that he would not survive my brief parenthood. It rather warmed and flattered me to think that they trusted me.

I had a sense of being caught in an inescapable net, prisoner of my own theories. If children of six were no longer tyrants, the possession of Ernest would not interfere with my work or my life. I had spoken confidently. I had a reputation among my friends of speaking eloquently about ‘the child.’ And I always find it almost impossible to resist the offer of new experience. I hesitated and was lost. I even found myself naming the day for Ernest’s momentary adoption. And during all that week I found it increasingly impossible to forget him. The night before Ernest was to come I told myself that I could not believe that this perilous thing was about to happen to me. I made no preparations to receive Ernest in my tiny bachelor apartment. I felt that I was in the hands of fate.


I was not really surprised when fate knocked at the door next morning in the person of my grinning friend, and swiftly left a well-bundled little boy with me. I have rarely seen a young woman look as maliciously happy as did his guide when she left, with the remark that she could n’t possibly come for Ernest that evening, but would take him at nine o’clock on the morrow. My first quick resentment was stilled by the thought that perhaps an official day was a day plus a night. But Ernest loomed formidably at me. There would be problems of sleeping. Was I a victim? Well, that is what parents were! They should not find me weak.

Ernest expressed no aversion to staying with me. He was cheerful, a little embarrassed, incurious. The removal of his hat disclosed a Dutch-cut of yellow hair, blue eyes, many little freckles, and an expression of slightly quizzical good-humor. I really had not had the least conception how big a boy of six was likely to be, and I found comfort in the evidence that he was big enough to be self-regulating, and yet deliciously small enough to be watched over. He could be played with, and without danger of breaking him.

Ernest sat passively on a chair and surveyed the room. I had thought a little pedantically of exposing him to some Montessori apparatus. I had got nothing, however. The room suddenly became very inane; the piano a huge packing-box, the bookcases offensive, idiotic shelves. A silly room to live in! A room practically useless for these new and major purposes of life! I was ashamed of my surroundings, for I felt that Ernest was surveying me with contempt and reproach.

It suddenly seemed as if little boys must like to look at pictures. Ernest had clambered up into a big chair, and was sitting flattened against its back, his legs sticking straight out in front of him, and a look of mild lassitude on his face. He took with some alacrity the illustrated newspaper supplement which I gave him, but my conscience tortured me a little as to whether his interest was the desperate one of demanding something for his mind to feed on, however arid it might be, or whether it was a genuine æsthetic response. He gave all the pictures exactly the same amount of time, rubbing his hand over each to make sure that it was flat, and he showed no desire to talk about anything he had seen. Since most of the pictures were of war, my pacifist spirit rebelled against dwelling on them. His celerity dismayed me. It became necessary to find more pictures. I had a sudden horror of an afternoon of picturebooks, each devoured in increasingly accelerated fashion. How stupid seemed my rows of dully printed books! Not one of them could disgorge a picture, no matter how hard you shook it. Despair seized me when I found only a German handbook of Greek sculpture, and another of Michelangelo. In hopeful trepidation I began on them. I wondered how long they would last.

It was clearly an unfamiliar field to Ernest. My attempts to test his classical knowledge were a failure. He recognized the Greeks as men and women, but not as gods, and there were moments when I was afraid he felt their nudity as indecent. He insisted on calling the Winged Victory an angel. There had evidently been religion in Ernest’s career. I told him that these were pictures of marble statues from Greece, of gods and t hings, and I hurriedly sketched such myths as I could remember in an attempt to overtake Ernest’s headlong rush of interest. But he did not seem to listen, and he ended by calling every flowing female form an angel. He laughed greatly at their missing arms and heads. I do not think I quite impressed him with the Greek spirit.

On Michelangelo there was chance to test his Biblical background. He proved never to have heard of David, and took the story I told him with a little amused and incredulous chortle. Moses was new to him, and I could not make him feel the majesty of the horns and beard. When we came to the Sistine I felt the constraint of theology. Should I point out to him God and Adam and Eve, and so perhaps fix his infant mind with ineradicable theological bias? Now I understood the temptation which every parent must suffer, to dose his child with easy mythology. Something urged me to say, Adam was the first man and Eve was the first woman, and get the vague glow of having imparted godly information. But I am glad that I had the strength sternly to refrain, hoping that Ernest was too intellectually robust to be trifled with. I confined myself to pointing out the sweep of clouds, the majesty of the prophets, the cracks in the plaster, the mighty forms of the sibyls.

But with my last sibyl I was trapped. It smote my thought that there were no more pictures. And Ernest’s passivity had changed. We were sitting on the floor, and his limbs began to take on movement. He crawled about, and I thought began to look menacingly at movable objects on tables. My phobia of the combination of movable objects and children returned. Parenthood suddenly seemed the most difficult thing in the world. Ernest was not talking very much, and I doubted my ability to hold him very long entranced in conversation. Imagination came to my relief in the thought of a suburban errand. I remembered a wonderful day when I myself had been taken by my uncle to the next town on a journey—the long golden afternoon, the thundering expresses at the station, the amazing watch which he had unaccountably presented me with at the end of the day. Ernest should be taken to Brookfield.

Our lunch had to be taken at the railroad station. Ernest climbed with much puffing up to the high stool by the lunch-counter, and sat there unsteadily and triumphantly while I tried to think what little boys ate for their lunch. My decision for scrambled eggs and a glass of milk was unwise. The excitement of feeding scrambled eggs to a slippery little boy on top of a high stool was full of incredible thrills. The business of preventing a deluge of milk whenever Ernest touched his glass forced me to an intellectual concentration which quite made me forget my own eating. Ernest himself seemed in a state of measureless satisfaction; but the dizzy way in which he brandished his fork, the hairbreadth escape of those morsels of food as they passed over the abyss of his lap, the new and strange impression of smearedness one got from his face, kept me in a state of absorption until I found we had but one minute to catch our train. With Ernest clutching a large buttered roll which he had decently refused to relinquish, we rushed through the gates.

When the candy-man came through the train, Ernest, asked me in the most detached tone in the world if I was going to buy any candy. And I asked him with a similar dryness what his preferences in candy were. He expressed a cool interest in lemon-drops. The marvelous way in which Ernest did not eat those lemon-drops gave me a new admiration for his self-control. He finished his buttered roll, gazed out of the window, casually ate two or three lemon-drops, and then carefully closed the box and put it in his pocket. I was almost jealous of Ernest’s character. I recalled my incorrigible nibblings. I predicted for Ernest a moral fife.

Our talk was mostly of the things that flashed past our eyes. I was interested in Ernest’s intellectual background. Out of the waste of signboards and salt-meadows there was occasionally disentangled a river with boats or a factory or a lumber-yard which Ernest could be called upon to identify. He was in great good humor, squirming on his seat, and he took delight in naming things and in telling me of other trips on the railroad he had taken. He did not ask where we were going. I told him, but it seemed not especially to concern him. He was living in life’s essential, — excitement, — and neither the future nor the past mattered. He held his own ticket a little incredulously, but without that sense of the importance of the business that I had looked for. I found it harder and harder not to treat him as an intellectual equal.

In Brookfield I became conscious of a desire to show Ernest off. I was acquiring a proprietary interest in him. I was getting proud of his good temper, his intelligence, his self-restraint, his capacity for enjoying himself. I wanted to see my pride reflected in another mind. I would take him to my wise old friend, Beulah. I knew how pleasurably mystified she would be at my sudden possession of a chubby, yellowhaired little boy of six.

Ernest had a delightful hour on Beulah’s parlor floor. He turned somersaults, he shouted, he played that I was an evil monster who was trying to catch him. He would crawl up warily towards me and put his hand on my sleepily outstretched palm. As I suddenly woke and seized him, he would dart away in shrieks of fear and glee. When I caught him, I would feel like a grim ogre indeed, for his face would cloud and little tears shoot into his eyes, and his lips would curl in mortal fear. And then I would let him go tugging and sprawling, and he would yell with joy, and steal back with everrenewed cunning and watchfulness. When he had eaten Beulah’s cakes and drunk her cocoa, he lay back in a big chair, glowing with rosiness, and still laughing at the thought of his escape from my ogredom.

Our minds played about him. I tried to tease Beulah into adopting him. We spoke of his birth in a reformatory, and the apparently indomitable way in which nature had erased this fact from his personality. We wondered about his unknown mother, and his still more unknown father, and what he would be and how either of us could help keeping him forever. She pleaded her Man, I my poverty. But we were not convincing, and I began to conceive a vague fear of Ernest’s adopting me, because I could not let him go.

And then it was time for the train. Ernest was very self-possessed. His manners on leaving Beulah were those of an equal, part ing from a very old and jolly friend. The walk to the station gave me a sudden realization how very badly the world was adapted to the needs of little boys. Its measurements, its times, its lengths and its breadths were grotesquely exaggerated. Ernest ploughed manfully along, but I could feel the tug at my hand. Time would have to double itself for him to reach the station in the allotted minutes. His legs were going in great strides like those of the giant in seven-league boots, and he was panting a litt le. I was cruel, and yet there was the train. I felt myself a symbol of parenthood, earth-adjusted, fixed on an adult goal, dragging little children panting through a world not their own. ‘I’m ti-yerd!’ said Ernest in so plaintive a voice that my heart smote me. Nameless premonitions of what might ensue to Ernest from being ti-yerd came upon me. I felt a vague dread of having already made Ernest an invalid for life. But my adulthood must have triumphed, for the train was caught. Ernest’s spirits revived on the reappearance of the lemon-drops. And my heart leaped to hear him say that only his legs were tiyerd, and that now they were no longer so. The world had diminished again to his size.


Ernest ate his supper in great contentment at a little table by my fireplace. The unaccustomed task of cooking it gave me new and vivid thrills. And the intellectual concentration involved in heating soup and making toast was so great as to lose me the pleasure of watching Ernest draw. I had asked him in the morning if he liked to draw. He had answered in such scorn that I had hastily called in Michelangelo. Now I placed a pencil and many large sheets of paper negligently near him. When I brought him his supper, he had covered them all with futuristic men, houses, and horses. The floor was strewn with his work, and he was magnificently casting it from him as he attacked these æsthetic problems with fierce gusto. Only the sight of food quelled his artistic rage. After supper, however, he did not return to them. Instead, he became fascinated with the pillows of my couch, and piled them in a line, with a whistling and shouting as of railroad trains. I wrote a little, merely to show myself that this business of parenthood need not devastate one’s life. But I found myself wondering acutely, in the midst of an eloquent sentence, what time it was healthy for Ernest to go to bed. I seemed to remember seven — incredible to me, and yet perhaps meet for a child. It was already seven, but the vigor with which he rejected my proposal startled me. His amiability all day had been so irreproachable that I did not wish to strain it now. Yet I was conscious of an approaching parental crisis. Suppose he did not want to go to bed at all!

When I next looked up, I found that he had compromised by falling asleep in a curious diagonal and perilous position across his pillows — the trainman asleep at the switch. In a position in which nobody could sleep, Ernest slept with the face of an angel. Complexity! Only a brute would wake him. Yet how did parents get their children to bed? And then I thought of the intricacies of his clothes. I touched him very gently; he jumped at me in a dazed way, with the quaintest, ‘Oh, I don’t know what made me go to sleep!’ and was off into the big chair and helpless slumber.

I repented of my brutality. I tried to read, but my parental conscience again smote me. Ernest looked forlorn and maladjusted, his head sinking down on his breast. I thought that Ernest would thank me now for reminding him of his bed. He showed astonishing force of will. I recoiled from the ‘I don’t want to go to bed! ’ which he hurled at me. I tried reason. I called his attention to his uncomfortableness. But he was unmoved, and insisted on going to sleep again after every question. I hardened my heart a little. I saw that stern measures would have to be adopted, Ernest’s little clothes taken off, Ernest inserted into his flannel nightgown, and tucked into bed. Yet I had no idea of the parental technique for such situations. Ernest had been quite irresponsive to my appeal that all good little boys went to bed at seven o’clock, and I could think of no further generalizations. Crisis after so happy a day! Was this parenthood?

The variety of buttons and hooks on Ernest’s outer and inner garments bewildered me. Ernest’s dead sleepiness made the work difficult. But finally his little body emerged from the midst, leaving me with the feeling of one who has taken a watch apart and wonders dismayedly how he will ever get it together again. Ernest, however, was not inclined to permit the indignity of this disrobing without bitter protest. When I urged his coöperation in putting on his nightgown, he became voluble. The sunniness of his temper was clouded. His tone turned to harsh bitterness. Little angry tears rolled down his cheeks, and he betrayed his sense of extreme outrage with an ‘ I don’t want to put on my nightgown!’ hurled at me with so much of moral pain that I was chilled. But it was too late. I could not unscramble Ernest. With a sinking heart I had gently to thrust his little arms and legs into the warm flannel, trundle him over the floor, bitter and sleepily protesting, roll him into his bed, and cover him up. As he curled and snuggled into the covers his tears dried as if by magic, the bitterness smoothed out of his face, and all his griefs were forgotten.


In the next room I sat and read, a pleasant warmth of parental protection in my heart. And then Ernest began to cough. It was no light childish spasm, but a deep racking cough that froze my blood. There had been a little cold in him when he came. I had taken him out into the raw December air. I had overexerted him in my thoughtless haste. Visions of a delirious and pneumoniac child floated before me. Or what was that dreadful thing called croup? I could not keep my thought on my book. That racking cough came again and again. Ernest must be awake and tossing feverishly. Yet when I looked in at him, he would be lying peaceful and rosy, and the cough that tore him did not disturb his slumbers. He must then be in a state of fatigue so extreme that even the cough could not wake him. I reproached myself for dragging him into the cold. How could I have led him on so long a journey, and let him play with a strenuousness such as his days never knew! I foresaw a lurid to-morrow: Ernest sick, myself helpless and ignorant, guilty of a negligence that might be fatal. And as I watched him, he began to show the most alarming tendency to fall out of bed. I did not dare to move him, and yet his head moved ever more perilously near the edge. I relied on a chair pushed close to the bed to save him. But I felt weary and worn. What an exacting life, the parent’s! Could it be that every evening provided such anxieties and problems and thrills? Could one let one’s life become so engrossed?

And then I remembered how every evening, when we went to bed, we used to ask our mother if she was going to be home that evening, and with what thankful security we sank back, knowing that we should be protected through another night. Ernest had not seemed to care what became of me. Having had no home and no parents, he had grown up into a manly robustness. He did not ask what you were going to do with him. He was all for the moment. He took the cash and let the credit go. It was I who felt the panic and the insecurity. I envied Ernest. I saw that, contrary to popular mythology, there were advantages in being an institutional orphan, provided you had been properly Binet-ed as of normal intelligence and the State got you a decent boarding-mother. How much bringing up Ernest had escaped! If his manners were not polished, at least they were not uncouth. He had been a little shy at first, nodding at questions with a smile, and throwing his head against the chair. But there was nothing repressed about him, nothing institutionalized, and certainly nothing artificial.

His cough grew lighter, and as I looked at his yellow hair and the angelic flush of his round cheeks, I thought of the horrid little puppets that had been produced around me in conventional homes, under model fathers and kind and devout mothers. How their fears and inhibitions contrasted with Ernest’s directness! His bitter mood at going to bed had a certain fine quality about it. I recalled the camaraderie we had established. The box of lemondrops, only half-exhausted, stared at me from t he pocket of his little sweater, I became proud of Ernest. I was enjoying again my vicarious parenthood. What did that obscure and tangled heredity of his, or his most problematical of futures, matter to him or to me? It was delightful to adopt him thus imaginatively. If he turned out badly, could you not ascribe it to his heredity, and if well, to your kindly nurture and constant wisdom? Nothing else could be very much thought about, perhaps, but for the moment Ernest seemed supremely worth thinking about. There would be his education. And suddenly it seemed that I did not know very much about educating a child. It would be too absorbing. There would be no time for the making of a living. Ernest loomed before my imagination in the guise of a pleasant peril.

And then morning came. As soon as it was light Ernest could be heard talking and chuckling to himself, with no hint of delirium or pneumonia, or the bogies of the night. When I spoke he came running in in his bare feet, and crawled in with me. He told me that in spite of my valiant chair he had really fallen out of bed. He did not care, and proceeded to jump over me in a vigorous acrobatic way. He did not even cough, and I wondered if all the little sinister things of childhood passed so easily with the night. It was impossible to remember my fears as he tossed and shouted, the perfection of healthiness. Parenthood now seemed almost too easy to bother with.

Ernest caught sight of my dollar watch on the chair, and I saw that he conceived a fatal and instantaneous passion. He listened to its tick, shook it, ogled it amorously. He made little suggestive remarks about liking it, I teased him with the fact that he could not tell time. Ernest snorted at first in good-natured contempt at the artificial rigidity of the process, but finally allowed himself to be persuaded that I was not fooling him. And my heart swelled with the generosity which I was about to practice in presenting him with this wonderful watch.

But it suddenly became time to dress, for my parental day was to end at nine. And then I discovered that it was as hard to get Ernest into his clothes as it was to get him out of them. It was intolerable to him that he should leave his romp and the watch, and he shouted a no to my every suggestion. A new parental crisis crashed upon me. What a life of ingenuity and stratagem the parent had to lead! To spend half one’s evening persuading a sleepy and bitter little boy to take off his clothes, and half the morning in persuading a vivid and jubilant little boy to put them on again—this was a life that taxed one’s personal resources to the utmost. I reasoned with Ernest. I pointed out that his kind friend was coming very soon, and that he must be ready. But Ernest was obdurate. He would not even bathe. I pointed out the almost universal practice of the human race of clothing themselves during the early morning hours. Historic generalizations had no more effect on Ernest in the morning than they had had in the evening. And with a sudden stab I thought of the watch. That watch I knew would be an Aladdin’s lamp to make Ernest my obedient slave. I had only to bribe him with it, and he would bathe, dress, or do anything which I told him to do. Here was the easy art of corruption by which parents got moral clutches on their children! And I deliberately renounced it. I would not bribe Ernest. Yet the mischief, was done. So intuitive was his mind that I felt guiltily that he already knew my readiness to give him the watch if he would only dress. In that case, I should miss my moral victory. I could not disappoint him, and I did not want to bribe him inadvertently.

There was another consideration which dismayed me. Even if Ernest should prove amenable to reason or corruption, where was my ability to reconstruct him? Unbuttoning a sleepy and scarcely resisting little boy in the evening was quite different from constructively buttoning a jumping and hilarious one in the morning. And time was flowing dangerously on. Only a sudden theory of self-activity saved me. Could Ernest perhaps dress himself? I caught him in one of his tumbles and asked him. His mind was too full of excitement, to be working on prosaic themes. And then I shot my bolt. ‘I don’t believe you know how to dress yourself, do you?’ To that challenge Ernest rose. ‘Hurry!’ I said, ‘and see how quickly you can dress. See if you can dress before I can! ’ Ernest flew into the other room, and in an incredibly short time appeared quite constructed except as to an occasional rear-button, washed and shining, self-reliant, ready for the business of the day. I glowed with the success of my parental generalship. I felt a sense of power. But power gained in so adroit and harmless a way was safe. What a parent I would make! How grateful I was to Ernest to be leaving me at this height!

I gave him the watch. Though he had longed, the fulfillment of his desire struck him with incredulity. The event awed him. But I showed him how to wind it, and seemed so indifferent to its fate, that he was reassured as to my sincerity. He recovered his poise. He sang as he ate his breakfast. And when his guide and friend came, amused and curious, he went off with her as unreluctantly as he had come, proud and self-possessed, the master of himself. He strutted a little with his watch, and he politely admitted that he had had a good time.

I do not know whether Ernest ever thought of me again. He had been an unconscious artist, for he had painted many new impressions on my soul. He had been sent to me to test my theories of parenthood, but he had driven away all thought of theory in the obsession of his demands. How could I let him go so cheerily out of my door? It was n’t at all because I minded having my time absorbed, for I like people to absorb my time. Why did I not cling to him, buy him from his protector, with a ‘Dear boy, you shall never leave my pleasant rooms again ’ ? Why did I not rush after him down the street, stung by a belated remorse? I was conscious enough that I was missing all the dramatic climax of the situation. I was not acting at all as one does with tempting little orphan boys. But that is the way life works. The heart fails, and the vast and incalculable sea of responsibility drowns one in doubt. I let him go with no more real hesitation than that with which he went.

The later life of Ernest I feel will be one of sturdy self-reliance. That all the aspects of his many-sided character did not become apparent in the short time that I held him was clear from the report I heard of a Christmas party to which he was invited a few weeks later. Ernest, it seems, had broken loose with the fervor of a modern Europe after its forty years of peace. He had seized chocolate cake, slapped little girls, bitten the hand of the kind lady who fed him, and ended by lying down on the floor and yelling in a self-reliant rage. Was this the effect of a day with me? Or had I charmed and soothed him? I had a pleasant shudder of power, wondering at my influence over him.

The next I heard of Ernest was his departure for the home of an adopting family in New Jersey, from which he was presently to be shipped back for offenses unknown. My respect for Ernest rose even higher. He would not fit in easily to any smug conventional family life. He would not rest adopted until he was satisfied. I began to wonder if, after ail, we were not affinities. He had kept the peace with me, he had derived stimulation from my society. Should I not have called him back? Shall I not now? Shall I not want to see him with me again? I wonder.