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This morning I asked Daddy to take me to the park because it's Tuesday and Daddy and me always do whatever we want on Tuesdays because he doesn't go to work and so I don't have to go to preschool. I specially like Tuesdays because my preschool is really dumb and I'm the biggest one there. Daddy says next year I'll go to school and learn stuff but I don't want to go to school either because I don't like learning stuff. I just like Tuesdays. When I go to school it will be really bad because I won't get to stay home on Tuesdays.

I don't know why maybe the sun is really mad at us or something but this morning when we were in the car it was cold and Daddy had his window down so my teeth were chattering and my cheeks were icy and numb. It's almost winter and Daddy says it's going to be cold a lot now because we live in New Hampshire. I think that means it's always cold in New Hampshire but I don't know why though if it's not cold other places.

I sniffled a little, just because my nose was all runny, I swear, but I think Daddy thought I was crying since I was cold because he looked back in the mirror and said "Don't cry kid. Men don't cry."

I know men don't cry and that's what I told him and I said "I'm just cold and my nose is all runny, see?" I sniffled again to show him that I wasn't lying because I don't want my pants on fire. People who are liars get their pants on fire that's what the kids at my preschool say.

He nodded and said "Okay kid. Here, take my jacket." And then I was real, real happy because Daddy never lets me wear his jacket. He says it's his special jacket that he got from his Daddy just before his Daddy left for the better place. I don't know why Grandpa didn't take his jacket to the better place with him or why he never visits us and tells us about the better place. Once I asked Daddy why the place where Grandpa was was so much better, and why we didn't go there too, but Daddy just looked away from me and shook his head.

"You wouldn't like the better place, kid," he said. "Grandpa didn't want to go there but he had to go anyway. I wish he was still here with us." I wonder why Grandpa had to go to the better place if he didn't want to and why I wouldn't like the better place at least if it was so much better anyways. Maybe because it's hot there and maybe that's why Grandpa gave his jacket to Daddy before he left.

When we got to the park I wanted Daddy to come and play with me but I knew he wouldn't because he never does. Daddy doesn't like the park I don't think.

Daddy said "You go play, kid. I'll watch from the car." I didn't ask him to come play with me because I didn't want him to think I was scared or something so I got out and walked towards the playground. Then I got really excited because I saw some big kids and I thought maybe they would play with me. I waved to them and smiled real big but they just looked at Daddy's jacket and laughed and said "Where are your hands?" and "How come your jacket is touching your feet?"

So then I said "I'm not even cold anymore," and I put the jacket down on the bench. I really was actually still kind of cold a little but I wanted to be like the big kids who weren't wearing any jackets. I don't think big kids get cold.

When I came back from the park bench the big kids were going on the monkey bars so I decided to go over and show them how good I was on the monkey bars. But I really was actually really cold and the metal bars felt like ice under my hands. I couldn't even hold on to them since my hands were so cold so I had to let go. I fell down really fast and it hurt a little kind of when I hit the wood-chips. Then I heard the big kids laughing and they were like a bunch of noisy birds and it sounded like they were way, way above me so I looked up to the top of the tower and there they were. I laughed too because they were laughing so something must be funny.

I knew Daddy would want to leave soon to go home so I went back to the park bench to get his jacket, except when I got there the jacket wasn't there anymore. That's when I got really scared for real because I couldn't even feel my fingers or my toes anymore and Daddy would be coming looking for me soon. I tried to bite my teeth together to stop them from chattering and I was trying not to look cold. Then I heard Daddy coming behind me and I got even more scared because Daddy was going to be so, so mad at me when he saw I lost his special jacket that his Daddy gave him. And what was Grandpa going to say if he came to visit and we didn't have his jacket anymore? What if he was moving back here and then I made him be cold? Daddy stopped so I turned around and he was looking up at the tower. I looked up too and I saw the big kids laughing. He suddenly got red in his face and he looked like he was really, really mad I'm not even kidding. I thought why am I so, so stupid and why did I lose Daddy's jacket but then I saw that one of the big kids had on a jacket that looked just like Daddy's. I was going to tell him that maybe that boy has the same jacket as him but he grabbed me by the arm and pulled me back to the car.

When we got into the car I hadn't even finished closing my door and Daddy was already going as fast as the car could go. I wanted to tell Daddy to ask the big boy for his jacket back but I knew he wouldn't listen to me because I'm just a little kid and I'm not even smart. I was sad though because I knew I lost Daddy's jacket. I was about to start crying but I bit my lip really hard and took deep breaths because I knew Daddy would be even more mad if I started crying since men don't cry. If I cry then I can never be a man I think. But those kids at my preschool, they're going to be kids for a long time because they cry a lot like just when they fall off the monkey bars and stuff.

Daddy pulled into the driveway and got out of the car. He slammed the door, pushed me into the house and told me to go to bed. At preschool they always say to apologize for everything so I said to Daddy "I'm sorry, I never meant to lose your jacket, Im really, really sorry I swear." Daddy was still really mad at me I think because he had a big frown on his face.

"Kid," he said. "Sometimes people aren't going to be as nice and friendly as you think. There are lots of people in this world who have to hurt other people in order to feel better about themselves. It's not your fault that the jacket is gone. But think about it, where do you think the jacket went?"

" I think that that big boy took it by accident because maybe he has the same jacket as you." Then Daddy said something really really weird to me.

He said "Do you really think that boy took it by accident? What if he took in on purpose? Just think about that kid, but go to bed now." I don't think the boy took Daddy's jacket on purpose because if he knew it wasn't his then why would he take it? Besides, if you take something that's not yours then you get in trouble I think. At least that's what happens at my preschool.

I went to bed but I couldn't sleep because I was thinking about what Daddy said, and how the kids had been laughing. Could Daddy maybe be right? I guess if that boy was really cold like me then maybe he saw the jacket on the bench and took it on purpose. Daddy is a lot, a lot older than me and he knows more stuff than me so he is probably right. Why didn't Daddy just ask the boy for his jacket back then? Maybe Daddy thought that boy was going to be mean to him and that's why he said not everyone's nice. Maybe that's also why we left so fast. Maybe Daddy was scared. I don't think Daddy was scared for real though because once he told me that men don't get scared. Daddy's definitely a real man. So I think maybe Daddy thought I would be scared and Daddy doesn't want me to be scared, I know that. That's why we left so fast.

I'm going to tell Daddy I know what happened to his jacket and that I think we should get it back. I'm going to tell Daddy that I'm almost a man now because I'm not scared of any big kids. I'm going to tell Daddy that we're going to get his jacket back. I really, really don't want Grandpa to come to see us and then be mad at me because I lost his jacket and made him be cold.

When I woke up I knew I had to go to preschool but I didn't want to wait until after to get Daddy's jacket so I ran downstairs. I knew he was up already because I could smell that really, really bad smell of his coffee that he drinks every morning. I don't know why he likes it.

He was sitting at the table reading the newspaper and I think I surprised him because he said "Whoa! Hi there, kid. What are you doing awake already?"

"I know not everyone's nice and I think that boy was really cold so he took your jacket on purpose. I think we should go get your jacket from him, Daddy."

"Slow down, kid. It's Wednesday and you have to go to preschool. Besides, we don't even know---"

"Yeah but Daddy I don't even like my preschool and I'm the biggest one there and those kids hang out at the park a lot so I bet they're there." Daddy scratched his head and I think he was thinking about what I said and how not scared I am.

"So...you want to go to the park then? And get my jacket back from the kids who, you realize, might not even be there?"

"Yeah! That's what I want to do! So can we?" I smiled real big to show Daddy that I really wanted to.

"You know kid, I'm surprised at how well you understand the situation. After all, you haven't even started school yet. Alright, we can go. But don't get too excited, there's a good chance they won't be there."

"That's okay Daddy! Let's go anyway."

When we got to the playground it looked different than usual. It was kind of blurry like everything was under a cloud or something and I couldn't see if anyone was there.
"Daddy? How come it looks so weird?" Daddy told me that that blurriness was called fog and it was there because it was so early.

"Let's go home, kid. I don't think they're here."

"Wait Daddy don't leave yet, they might be behind the fog!" Daddy told me that if there was somebody at the playground besides us we would be able to hear them talking and so nobody was there. I was real, real disappointed because we would never ever have Daddy's jacket back.

We turned around and started walking back to the car. We were even about to leave but then I heard somebody laughing and it sounded like those big kids that took Daddy's jacket yesterday. I turned around and I still couldn't see them but I looked up this time because last time I heard them laughing they were in the tower. I saw the boys up there laughing but this time I didn't laugh with them. I didn't think it was funny because they took Daddy's jacket and that's not nice.

"Daddy! Daddy," I said. "Daddy they're in the tower! See? Look up there!" I pointed to the top of the tower so Daddy could see where the kids were and he smiled at me.

"Let's go get 'em, kid." I was so happy that I ran all the way to the top of the tower with Daddy right behind me. We got to the top and Daddy told the kid that the jacket he was wearing was actually his. I even told them that I'm not scared of any big kids. Daddy took the jacket from the boy and said thank you. I don't know why he said thank you since the jacket's his anyways but I didn't ask him that because I didn't really care. I was just happy that Daddy had his jacket back and that he knew I was going to be a real man and that I wasn't going to cry or be scared. Daddy even put his jacket over my shoulders on our way back to the car so I specially knew he knew that.

"Daddy?"

"Yeah?"

"Next Tuesday..."

"Oh, brother, kid."

"I just....I can't wait that's all."

"I can't wait either, kid. You made me proud today." There was something kind of different about him though. I don't know, I'm probably wrong but there was something about the way he smiled and I thought maybe his eyes looked a little more shiny than usual. When he saw me looking though he just nodded at me and looked away. I think I'm glad this happened and I'm never going to let anyone touch my Grandpa's jacket again.





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