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Pete Fix It  Juliet Myfanwy Johnson Home The Book & Reviews Buy It Now Stories Who is Juliet Earth Mother Video Blogs & Writing Networking Day in the Life Contact
Pete Fix It was first published in LA Family Magazine, June 2004
When the fax machine breaks, and Daddy is steaming, three-year-old Nathan, takes a look at it and says, “It’s okay. Take it Pete’s. Pete fix it.” Pete’s the mechanic. Barry’s car recently broke down and we went to drop it off at Pete’s. On the way to the garage, Nathan picks up his play phone. “Hi Pete. Daddy’s car comin. Has hole in tire. You fixin it for us. I in me’s tractor, I just be in me’s tractor all day. Bye.” We get to Pete’s place, a sea of hurt automobiles. My tiny blonde babies walk the strip of steps in front of the building. Pete’s meeting us there. He’s out with his wife. Nathan is silent watching for Pete. He cannot speak in anticipation of Pete, the greatness of Pete, who can fix anything. Pete shows up in a Lexus, a gleaming silver new SUV. There is a beautiful lady in the front seat – long dark hair, gentle smile. She waves at my kids.
Nathan looks at her like a sailor looking longingly out at an empty ocean. Almost two-year-old Emma waves at her. Nathan forgets all about Pete. “Who that lady?” “I don’t know, honey.” Pete talks to Barry about his car. Nathan studies Pete’s wife while Emma rubs her hands around on the asphalt and looks thrilled with her black fingers. “Her nice lady?” “She looks nice.” “Her not bite?” “No, she doesn’t bite.” “Mean people bite. Mean people pinch too.” “You’re right. It’s better not to do that.” “Her not do that.” “I think that’s Pete’s wife.” He looks at me like I just said she was Pete’s toaster oven. “They have kids. That’s the mommy. Pete’s the daddy.” “Oh.” We leave the car with Pete. Outside, at home, Nathan gets out all his “tools me got from me’s birsday” and shows Emma and me how to fix it: “fix” the plants “like Pete.” How to fix the dirt. Make it into soup, chicken. Animal tracks. Taste it. “It not too hot.” He’s in his thick training underwear, the cozy looking white ones with thick panels, long legs shooting out the bottom, lean, strong brown tummy and flailing arms shooting out the top. On top of all that the talking Nathan with his white curls soft as a silent movie star. He sees the dog, Maisie, and runs after her, abandoning us in the dirt with our shovels. Emma sits on my lap and we pretend to pick the embroidered cherries off her dress and eat them. We’ve eaten almost her whole dress when Nathan reappears with his doctor’s badge on and pretend scissors in his hand. “Just givin Maisie hair cut.” I look at Maisie’s guilt. She was enjoying the attention. He brushes Maisie with my brush. “I brush you’s hair too, Mommy. Me doctor.” Emma offers him a pretend cherry from her dress. He accepts her offer, but at the second one says “No moy. No thanks Emma.” He is using a tongue depressor to brush my hair. “Me three. Me big. Me two yesterday.” “You’re three now, yep.” “What happen two?” “Two? You used to be two.” “Me like two.” “I like two too.” “Where two go, Mommy?” “Well….It’s behind you now.” He looks over his shoulder. He pokes my eyes with his pretend scissors and Emma gets into the act, brushing my hair with the hard end of the brush, dancing in place excitedly for no reason. What happened to two? Pete, fix it.
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