Samuel leaned back in his lawn chair, wiggled his feet free from his sandals, and tugged at the loose grass with his toes. Children crawled all over the park. Most were prepared for soccer: shinguards, high socks, bright jerseys with numbers, and wails that warranted higher percent alcohol in his mojito. He took a sip and sighed and looked out over the field.
Carmin kicked him, “You’re glaring at the kids again, Samuel. You’ve got to stop doing that.”
He shrugged, “They’re not my kids.” Another sip.
“Some of them are your grandkids, Dad,” a voice behind them said.
Michael, the eldest son of Carmin and Samuel, dropped some bags beside them. Dark shadows splayed under his eyes and his hairline was receding; not by much, but if you knew him, you saw it dropping back like the ocean’s tide. Other than that, his physique was admirable. An erect posture he’d gained from the military made him look taller than he was and his presence commanded attention. He kept his muscles lean and veins rose out of his arms. The things he could control by himself were kept under control.
Of all his kids, Samuel loved Michael the most, and though he tried not to show it, the misbalance had become something of a family joke, much to Samuel’s chagrin.
“Glad you could drag your grumpy ass out here, Mom and Dad. Stella will love that you came out for her soccer game. Speak of the devil…”
Stella came shrieking, pushing through Michael and leaving her mother, Tamara, behind. She was a scrawny girl, much in the likeness of her father and grandfather. Samuel couldn’t help but love her, even as she wailed into his ear.
“You’re here! You’re here! I’m so happy you made it, Grandpa.”
Michael cleared his throat. “And, missy?”
Stella looked sheepishly at her father. She went to Carmin: “I love you, too, Grandma!” The moment suddenly awkward, Stella dropped all the soccer equipment she’d been carrying. “I’m going to go find Ashley, Dad!” She sprinted off.
“Wait Stella—” Michael said. His shoulders sagged momentarily. He brightened at the touch of Tamara’s hand on his shoulder.
“Just let her go,” she said. “She’ll be back in time to play the game. And she’s only ten. They’re supposed to run from stuff towards other stuff.” She smiled at Carmin and Samuel. “Nice to see you, Mom and Dad, glad you could make it.”
Samuel lifted his mojito towards them and grinned, “I’m just waiting for my favorite grandchild to kick some ass. I’ve been waiting a long time for her to start beating other kids at athletic sports. Even if you didn’t let her play when she was younger, I’m sure she’s going to beat the shit out of these kids.”
“Samuel,” Carmin said.
“Dad,” Michael said.
“What? A granddad deserves to be proud.” He took another sip. “When does it start?”
-----to be continued-----