To the Horizon

© Tim LaBarge © Tim LaBarge

As Leo struggled to fall asleep tonight, I leaned on the doorframe, willing to talk just a little longer. I didn’t want to get sucked into his tricky ways though. He has a knack for chatting late into the night, asking questions, asking for stories, wanting more.

I told him it was time to rest. Rest your eyes, rest your voice. We can talk more tomorrow.
“I love you,” I said.

He told me quietly, “I love you too, papa.”
“Okay,” I responded,”now let’s sleep.”

Then, the Guess How Much I Love You game commenced. That is the attempt to out do each other with I love yous in the manner of the pair of nutbrown hares in the children’s book.

“I love you to the moon,” Leo said.
I went straight for the punchline, “I love you to the moon…and back.”
But unlike the sweet critter in the book, Leo was not asleep.

“Yeah, well I love you to edge of the universe,” he whispered.
I was a little stumped because I couldn’t think of anything more distant. So I kept it vague. “Well, I love you all way to the next universe, if there is one.”

There was pause, then he spoke. “I love you to the horizon.”

And there the game ended. Because really, though it’s only a few miles away, you can’t ever get to the horizon. This love must be infinite, I thought, even greater than the distance to the edge of the next universe, to which one could certainly attach a light year or a few million. I told him this and he smiled. I thought Jack was sleeping, but his tiny voice cracked from the bottom bunk, “What do you mean?”

Leo tried to answer, “Jack, if you’re on a boat in the ocean, you can just keep on going forever and never get to the horizon because you keep moving past new things and new scenery and the horizon changes.”

An endless voyage of love, always pointed toward a new goal, a new destination on the horizon. This, to me, is not a bad thought to have in mind as you drift off to sleep. Which they both finally did.

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