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tilting davenport, giggling friends

Is there a sillier dynamic than 4 boys sleeping over? Last night Ed brought some friends home from a party, and they were all bedded down comfortably in the living room while Imo and I were in the kitchen talking about her evening.

So cool to hang out with people who get your jokes, she was saying. I'll start something, and my friends will get the reference and start laughing before I'm halfway through -- and then they'll make their own joke based on that, and we'll just keep it going for the longest time. It's so much fun.

Big smile on her face, and on mine, listening to her. She's a hard girl to get close to (one birthday back in public school she unwrapped stilts, hip waders, and an old 78-rpm phonograph with some jazz records. Her friends just stared), and I am glad she has finally found a peer group that understands her.

It helps that these girls are smart, she says.

Meanwhile, back in the living room, Ed and his friends are giggling even louder than they giggled when the place was declared a pants-optional zone more than an hour ago. I wander in in time to hear: Frederico, stop hogging the covers.

Shut up.

No you shut up.

No you shut up.

No pinching.

More giggling, and then the davenport tilts up on two legs (it's a cheap piece, and badly balanced) and Frederico rolls off. He lies on the floor giggling hysterically while the other boys pelt him with miscellaneous items of clothing.

Ouch, he says, not moving.

Smart girls, you say? I whisper to Imo. She glides past with a ghost of a smile, disappearing like smoke up the staircase.

Who's hungry? Ed asks from the couch. I am.

I could eat a whole pig, says Frederico, climbing back onto the davenport.

Could not, says one of the others.

Could so.

You are a pig.

Am not.

Are so.

I told you to stop pinching!

More pelting. More giggling. The davenport tilts dangerously.

I'm glad my kids have the friends they do. Smart isn't the key, though. Giggling is the key.

Dad, what's in the frig? calls Ed. Is there a pig?

Let's take a look, I say.

I find pepperettes, grape juice, and day-old pudding. They settle for that, lounging around the kitchen in boxer shorts, punching each other and laughing a lot.


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