I’d give every one of my family something they want.
“What would you wish for if you could have one wish just for yourself, not for the world?” Jason asked his father.
“You mean, I’m not supposed to ask for world peace or for everybody to have enough to eat?” Jesse hesitated while he changed lanes. “I don’t know exactly what you mean. You go first.”
Jason had his answer ready. “I would become a concert cellist and make a lot of money. I’d give every one of my family something they want.”
“What do you think we want?”
“Well, I’d give Eric a Porshe. And Anne would have all the clothes she wants. And Mom. I’d give her the newest and best I-phone. And I’d give you a grand piano.”
“I’m really impressed, Jason. You know exactly what each one of us would like. But you didn’t say what you would want.”
“Oh, Yeah. Well, a horse. Yeah, I’d get me a horse and ride it anytime I wanted.”
“Sounds like you want to give us all something that is completely out of our reach right now.”
“Yeah, Dad. I wish I could give everybody something. That’d be neat! I wish I could.”
Resisting the impulse to lecture Jason on how nothing unearned is much appreciated and about the satisfactions of obtaining one’s own goals for oneself, Jesse thought for a moment, waiting for the traffic light to turn green. “You’re cheating, you know. You’re wishing to be a great cellist, but I think the horse is the real wish.”
Jason laughed. “I guess so. Kenny Slater has a horse. But maybe if I was practicing all the time on the cello I wouldn’t have time for a horse.”
“That’s the trouble with wishes. Sometimes when we get them, they cut out other wishes.” Pleased that Jason had thought of the objection himself, Jesse asked, “Let’s just say we could have every one of those wishes. Now, how long would it be before we just wanted something more?”
“I guess playing the cello would make me happy for a longer time. But now it’s your turn.”
“My wish would be to be a better father and husband. I know I can’t provide all the things everybody wants, but I think I’d rather be better at listening and more able to show how much I love you all than maybe a better businessman so you could all have more things.”
“I guess so, Dad.” Nearing the studio, he started picking up his stack of music and reached for the cello.
Jesse flicked on the blinker and pressed the hand brake. He parked the van in the empty handicap slot, then rolled to the door where the hydrolic lifter set his chair down. He wheeled up the ramp behind his son.