Picture it: a Saturday night community event. Kids gathered in a gym. Music blasting, kids chewing on sausage pizza and guzzling fruit punch, a few kids playing catch, others making masterpieces at a craft table. Good clean fun and laughter.
And in the corner, sitting with her back against the wall, defying all the playful merry-making surrounding her, a goth girl-in-training. She wore all black. Her long, dark hair draped over her face as she sat with her head on her chin.
Jonas decided that this girl, this studiously depressed pre-teen angel of the night, was either his dearest love, or his newest enemy.
His mission: to get her to smile. He used all the tools at his disposal, from his dimple to his chubby tummy.
He kept glancing at her over his shoulder, and trotting back and forth in front of her. He found a jump rope and ran around with it trailing behind him. He grinned. He pulled up his shirt and rubbed his bare tummy. While he ate his pizza, he enthusiastically waved his half-gnawed crust at her as if to, “Look at this delicious, slimey pizza! And at me! Aren’t I adorable?”
No matter what Sean tried to distract him with – balls, balloons, his brother’s antics – Jonas kept returning to to the zone within four feet of his target. I’m pretty sure Jonas winked.
Though her shell cracked a bit – I noticed her glancing at him from beneath the curtain of her hair – Jonas wouldn’t stop until he got a full grin.
He started to dance. He stood, about two feet in front of her, and bounced in place. He waved his arms. He pretended to snap his fingers. He even did a little twist. At one point, he looked like he was about to throw in a headspin followed by the worm.
The corner of her mouth inched up a few times, but just as quickly she yanked her mouth back into a frown. I told him that he really liked her, and she shrugged. No adorable baby was going to penetrate her shield of sadness. It was an epic battle between the good vibes of sunny babyhood and the dark forces of angst-ridden tweendom.
Jonas decided it was time for the big guns.
In the middle of a dance move, Jonas turned, ran up to her, and threw himself on her lap in a big hug. She hugged him back. When I retrieved him, she was smiling.
Just to lock in his victory, Jonas did another turn on the dance floor and threw in a second hug before we went home. The song that was playing as he bounced in my arms and waved over my shoulder: Walking on Sunshine.
Goth girl: 0