With apologies to Raymond Carver.
My son Liam was talking. Liam is five years old, and that always gives him the right. The two of us were sitting around the kitchen table drinking juice. Light flickered into the kitchen from the TV in the living room. We had Disney+ then. But it was only a month’s trial.
There was a cup of juice and some Goldfish on the table. We somehow got on the subject of Encanto. We never actually got off the subject of Encanto. Liam thought it was the greatest movie in the world.
Liam said, “Can we play ‘We Don’t Talk About Bruno’?”
I let out a breath. “We’ve been playing it all morning, hon.”
“But I want to hear it again,” Liam said.
I reached across the table and touched his cheek with my fingers. “I know,” I said.
He chewed his Goldfish.
“We don’t talk about Bruno-no-no,” Liam said, crumbs falling out of his mouth. He picked up his cup.
“We’ve just listened to it a lot,” I said. “A lot, a lot.”
He wiped his mouth with his arm. “Can we watch the video?”
I used my finger to rub at the crumbs on the table. “Can you think of another song you might like?” I asked.
“No,” Liam said.
The flickering light in the living room went dark. The credits had stopped and it was back on the menu screen.
“We don’t talk about Brunoooo,” Liam said.
I rubbed my temples. “We’ve just… with your school being closed from the COVID spike, we’ve just had a lot of Encanto time, you know?”
“Yeah,” he said.
“What about Moana?” I said. “It’s got songs. They’re even by the same guy.”
Liam turned his cup over. He spilled it out on the table.
“Juice is gone,” Liam said.
“Oh,” I said.
“Alexa, play ‘We Don’t Talk About Bruno,’” he said.
I could hear the tambora beating. I could hear the marimba de chonta. I could hear the human noise Liam sat there making, wiggling in his chair. I didn’t move, even as it began to tip over.