When Dave was a kindergartener in Australia, he fell in love with a little blonde girl in his class. Her name was Cathy Phillips, but that's immaterial, because she was that girl. She didn't need a name.
Dave never spoke to her, but he told anyone who'd listen that he was going to marry her. Those long, blonde, swaying pigtails....there's nothing else to say.
In a jaunty -- if slightly wack -- romantic tribute, he rechristened her Captain Phillips, after the first governor of New South Wales. (After some googling, it looks like he should have actually called her Admiral Phillip, but let's not nitpick.) I hope she caught wind of it and made it legal. "Captain Phillips" is clearly a thousand times cooler than "Cathy Phillips", and it would have cemented her femme fatale status forever, like a female James Bond.
In any case, she's still alive and she's still five, only she's changed form, switched hemispheres and enrolled at Finn's school. She has a beautiful name, every bit as cool as Captain Phillips, but I'm not going to use it here. I'm going to protect her privacy. We'll just call her the Admiral, since the title's free. It's high time she was promoted, anyway.
The Admiral caught Finn's eye on the first day of school, when she showed up wearing a pretty white cotton dress. Remember, Finn's a sucker for a good sartorial move
. And the Admiral is a star sailor to her bones. (A star sailor isn't just someone in a good outfit. A star sailor has to drip with innate style and coolness. And then
top it off with a good outfit.) One day after school, Finn and the Admiral hung around the playground together and became fast friends. They're both half-day kindergarteners, two of the only three in the whole school, and so they bonded over being sprung at 12:30.
For a time, they were inseparable. (I should say they were voluntarily inseparable, but I'll get to that.) Finn's always been adamant about remaining half-day, but when the Admiral mentioned to Finn that she might be going full-day in November, suddenly the wind changed direction. He mentioned it idly, played it cool. "Mom, I think I might go full-day in November." No reason, Mom. Just feel like it. Oh, and maybe the Admiral is doing that.
Whenever I asked him who he'd sat with at lunch, it was the Admiral. Whenever I asked him who he liked best at school, it was the Admiral. He used the same fervent tone for her name that he'd used early on when he was talking about R.J. (for whom the flame has faded, although they were playing together today on their first field trip - ! - to a pumpkin patch).
Oh, but the course of true love never did run smooth. I picked Finn up one day and his mood was stormy. He didn't want to talk about it at first, but then he burst out, "Sometimes she says she doesn't want to sit next to me, but I know she really does want to sit next to me, so I sit next to her even if she doesn't want me to!" I hesitated a little and then said that there is this thing called personal space. "What's personal space?" he asked. I didn't have the heart to tell him that his bold moves were backfiring, so I told him to ask his dad. (Passing the buck is one of the best things about being married.)
Some days it's terrific with the Admiral. But the Admiral is capricious. She invited Finn to be a part of her club, but then revoked his membership the next day. He said that she was being mean. I advised him to locate some friendly people and play with them, then. After all, did he still want to play with her anyway if she was mean? He responded wearily, as though I were the biggest moron ever to walk the earth. "YES." And I suppose that was a dumb question, considering everything I've ever learned about being alive.
Finn and the Admiral are still close, though the Admiral still holds most of the cards. I say most of them, because Finn has plenty of mojo with the young ladies. The class played "The Farmer in the Dell" one day, and Finn told me he'd taken the Admiral for his wife. Apparently there were some other girls who'd wanted the job. There's a group who rush to hug Finn goodbye every day, and you can practically see the cartoon hearts take over their pupils. One little lass grabbed his hand once and gave it a kiss as he barreled past her. The thought bubble is clearly visible over his head. What the hell is happening? Meanwhile, rows of girls go down like dominoes. Dave and I have both witnessed it. It's frankly remarkable.
He had a tough one with the Admiral yesterday. There was something he didn't know about how something worked at school, and the Admiral said he was ridiculous. And then another girl said "YOU'RE sitting with your GIRLFRIEND", referring, of course, to the Admiral. But Finn held his own. He said that he didn't like that bit about a girlfriend, and he told the Admiral that he wasn't ridiculous. He hasn't been to school before, is all, and he's just getting started.