Love or a Straight-Five Engine

--image from Wikipedia

–image from Wikipedia

“Grandma,” says Quinn, plunking himself down in the passenger seat of the car, “we have to go to the grocery story now. I have get roses.”

“Why,” I ask my little car guy. Not once since my grandson has been old enough to talk has he ever shown the slightest interest in flowers.

“Well,” he replies, as though I should know this already, “I have a girlfriend. I need roses.”

The story comes out as we head toward Albertson’s Grocery. That morning after I dropped him off at day care, Quinn decided he had to have a girlfriend. Across the playground was another first-grader named Renata. At that age, the mind is wonderfully simplistic: Want girl. See girl. Get girl.

It wasn’t quite that easy in practice, though. Quinn spent the day trying to get Renata to say she loved him—what he said or did I was never to learn—and to give him her phone number. At first, she was demure. Then, she was coy. Finally, to the great enjoyment of all the other little girls on the playground, she screeched, “You get away from me.”

“So now I gotta get her a rose,” Quinn says. “Roses get girls.”

I attempt to tell him that flowers are nice, but the girl really may not be interested.

“Oh no,” she’ll be interested if I get her roses,” he maintains.

In the grocery store, Quinn decides that a dozen roses might be too … (the word he’s looking for is “ostentatious”). So, he checks the price for a half dozen–and is shocked. Rooting around in all six of the pockets in his cargo shorts, he counts silently, then enters into negotiations with me concerning chores cheerfully and homework happily. I go for it. We go home with two red roses, which we must sniff at various times throughout the evening. Sweet. Fresh. Not one bit like transmission oil.

The next morning, I drop Quinn off at day care just as the target of his intentions is being dropped off by her mother. “Renata!” Quinn bellows, hurling himself out of the car and careening across the parking lot toward her, his roses in his fist, his fist up in the air for all her friends to see. “Hey, Renata!”

Renata takes one horrified look at the now-disintegrating roses, turns and runs. Quinn, not the slightest bit discouraged, pounds after her pigtails and pink tennis shoes. “Renata,” he yells at the top of his lungs, “I have roses. See?” I look around at the parking lot and the sports field. There must be a hundred people gawking at Quinn, parents, giggling girls, boys with their own fists in the air. Everybody’s laughing.

I pick Quinn up that evening, He’s all about baseball (excitedly: “I had to leap as high as I could, but I did catch that ball”), tag (proudly: “nobody got me”), lunch (with giggles: “spilled my apple juice all over Martin”).

“So you had a nice day?” I ask.

“The best day,” he says.

“So, uh,… what about Renata?”

Right then, there’s his large truck-like car heading in our direction. “La-a-a-a-nd Rover!” says Quinn. “The “Discovery!” He nods. “Straight-five engine.”

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