I could hear the children behind me. They were screaming and laughing and they were playing Simon Says.
I heard a boy say, “Simon says go talk to that guy.”
I was sitting, facing the lake. I heard footsteps in the grass. The little girl came up from behind me.
“What are you doing?” she asked.
“Looking at the water.”
She looked down at the yellow legal pad in the grass. It was filled with scribbles.
“What are you writing?”
“Ideas,” I said.
I was holding a beer. It was my second one.
“And you’re drinking.”
“Yes,” I said.
“Are you a drunk like my dad?”
“I don’t think so.”
“So you don’t get drunk?”
“Sometimes,” I said. “But not that much.”
“If you’re not a drunk, then why are you drinking?”
“It seems like it helps with things. Sometimes.”
Looking down at the notepad in the grass, I said. “Those ideas. Those notes. Sometimes.”
“Do you like getting drunk?”
“Not especially,” I said. “But it happens sometimes, unfortunately.”
“I don’t understand why you drink if you don’t like getting drunk,” she said.
I thought. I wanted to say something about lubrifaction, but that didn’t seem appropriate. In my head, I fumbled with the word “facilitator”, but this was a little girl, maybe 8-years-old, so that didn’t seem right either.
So I said, “Sometimes it makes thinking easier. It helps to make things work better.”
“You mean like gasoline?” she asked.
“A bit more like oil,” I said. “Engine oil.”
I heard the kids in the background screaming and laughing again. One of them called her back.
“I’m going back to play now,” she said.
“Okay” I said.
She ran away. I could hear them playing more Simon Says.