“I’m craving Japanese food” I blurted out, to whomever picked up the phone on the other side.
“Daddy…can I come with you?” came the answer.
By process of elimination, I knew it was Sean: Gail doesn’t call me “Daddy”, Kayla can’t speak that well yet (although she will soon), and Jake was asleep already (after all…it was after 8pm).
“Sure,” I replied, “be ready in 20 minutes.”
I got home in 20 minutes flat, put on my Canucks’ sweatshirt, said a quick hello and good night to Gail and Kayla (Jake was indeed sleeping already), and loaded Sean into the van as we made our way to Aji Taro for some late night Japanese food.
We enjoyed a really nice meal as we each shared about our respective days at school/work and what we were looking forward to on the weekend. As we ate and chatted, I noticed out of the corner of my eye the people at a nearby table staring at us. At first, I thought they were looking “past us” to the bar/cashier but I knew they were staring when Sean said he noticed it too.
Finally, I gave a friendly-enough glance back, catching the dad by surprise (it was a dad and his son and one of the dad’s friends).
“Are you Japanese?” was the first question he asked me in response to my return glance.
“Uh…yeah…half” I answered.
“What about him?” he asked while pointing at Sean.
Hmmm….I could be really sarcastic here…but that probably wouldn’t be fair given that the stranger had no way of knowing whether or not Sean was my son.
“My son is only a quarter Japanese, as my wife is Chinese.”
“Oh…he looks Japanese because of his eyes. He is really cute. My son wanted to meet him but is too shy.”
And thus started a nice 3 minute conversation between the 3 of them and the 2 of us. Turns out that the other kid was also 8 years-old and in grade 3, but at an elementary school in Surrey. I learned that the 3 of them were Vietnamese, from Surrey, and Japanese food-lovers. Turns out they weren’t bad people after all…haha.
Or maybe not. After they paid their bill and left, Sean said to me: “Those guys were scary.”
We soon finished our meal, our conversation slowing to a near stand-still as I asked for the bill. I figured that Sean was extremely tired, still feeling the effects of the 5am wake up call the day before for the field trip to Victoria.
We got into the car and I said to Sean: “You didn’t eat that much tonight. Were you already full? Or are you tired?”
Sean replied, “I wasn’t really that hungry.”
I asked back, “So why did you come with me.”
“Because I wanted to spend time with you.”
My heart overflowed with joy and I flashed a big smile. “Thanks Sean…that means a lot to me. Thank you.”
His next statement revealed his true motive:
“But most of all, I didn’t want to have to go to bed yet.”
Still overflowing with joy, I was now laughing out loud as we made our way home, thankful for some quality food and more importantly, some quality time.