I won't lie to you. I couldn't wait to tell him. To see his face go pale and hear him stammer.
Was it cruel? Maybe. But please. Spare me your sanctimony. The boy does not deserve your pity.
I wait for the right moment. "Take the garbage out," I say. "By the way the volunteer coordinator has asked me to help out with the dance."
"What?" he shrieks.
"The garbage," I say.
"No," he says. "What about the dance?"
"You know," I say. "The 8th grade graduation dance."
The dance is the pinnacle of the middle school social calendar. There are rumors of girls with $300 dresses and 14-year-old boys learning to tie their own ties. Before this night is over, we will have inhaled our weight in Axe body spray.
But whatever hopes were riding on his new size 10 black dress shoes have come crashing down around his feet like the glass from a picture frame struck by a football thrown in the house after repeated warnings.
"Chill-ax, it was an accident."
"Mom," he says flatly. "You can't."
"I already told them I would," I say. "They need parents on the dance floor. Did you remember to put the recycling out?"
"Mo-om." He is braying now. "Tell them you're busy." A bead of sweat, like the condensation that drips onto the book he is using as a coaster for his milk glass, forms in the shadow over his lip.
"Take a chill pill Mom, it's just a book."
Eventually I will tell him that I've only signed on to help set up tables, inflate balloons and fill little bowls with M&Ms and goldfish. As part of the decorating crew I will be long gone before the music starts.
But for now, it's like a little graduation present to myself.
"Chill-ax," I say. "I am a pretty good dancer."