“You always want to make things pretty,” he says to me as I snap a Lego flower onto the table.
He’s remodeling Hogwarts castle into a cafe. The boxy little people hold their coffee cups and eat their croissants on benches. I’m combing through a pile of plastic bricks for the rare Lego food item.
“You’re right,” I reply. I hand him a tiny neon-colored bottle I find. “Maybe this can be something special for them to drink.”
“No, that’s toxic waste.”
“Oh.” I go into the kitchen to make our breakfast and return to find the tables turned over, my flowers uprooted, the café overrun by men holding a vast array of firearms. "What happened?"
“A terrorist group has taken over. And now the SWAT team is coming in.”
I think: Lego can manufacture fifty kinds of weapon to wield, but only croissants for them to eat...
I think: Ten years of shielding him from video games and violent movies, toy guns, the news…
I think: Is it him? Is it me? Is it gender, society, species? Is it adaptive, constructive? Is it my fault...
But I have learned to bite my tongue, smooth out a disapproving brow. I have learned to simply watch and let him play.
The SWAT team rescues the hostages, unceremoniously kills the terrorists. There are many casualties. I return to the kitchen to wash the dishes.
When I come back, the café is restored. The SWAT team has apparently cleaned up the mess and taken the guns with them. He shows me a Lego man who’s on his knees and holding flowers out to the waitress. “He’s proposing to her.”
“Oh. What’s her answer going to be?”
“Probably no. But look,” he says pointing to a police officer sitting at a table next to the Star Wars character Finn.
Finn is black. The officer beside him is white, as nearly all Lego police are out of the box. My son has positioned the croissant between them. “They’re sharing it.”
Several hours later we color in posters for the local protest.
Mine says “Act Against Racism.”