Tim stood there, a wide and excited smile on his face. He was dressed in a t-shirt and pants, winter boots and scarf and hat on tight. He was cold, but this would be quick. The hot pot of water in his hands keeping his fingers from freezing.
Hannah stood at the door, looking slightly nervous as she watched Tim stand in the snow. His dad usually kept a good eye on the two while he was home, as winter break allowed him. However, with Lex and Becky playing an intense game of monopoly with him, Tim had the chance to slip away with Hannah and test out his newest experiment.
Tim had recently gotten into science, specifically cool and quick experiments that the internet provided.
“Ready to see the magic happen Hannah?”
Hannah shook her head. “Bad water… “
“It’s okay Hannah. The water will immediately cool down into snow and water vapor once it gets into the air. Watch.”
Tim readied his stance, looking up into the air with a determined grin. Then, in one big toss the water went out of the pot and into the air. The mist looked mesmerizing, until the water that didn’t mist started to fall back down with gravity towards him. Tim instinctually ducked in a ball, the hot water falling to his back, the t-shirt doing little to protect him from the heat.
Tom, Becky, and Lex all sat at the kitchen table, the intense game of monopoly in front of them. It seemed as if nothing meant more than the game, until they heard the rushed sound of footsteps, followed by Hannah running into the room, looking terrified.
“Tim. Bad water.”
As quickly as they could, the three followed Hannah out to the front yard to find Tim on the snowy ground, clinging to his back in pain, the pot abandoned. Tom rushed to the boy, gently pulling him into a hug the boy clung to, sobbing.
Tim now sat on the edge of the bathtub, his shirt off as Becky gently rinsed his back with cold water to sooth the burns now forming.
“You’re lucky it was cold out, you’ll only get some blisters at most.” Becky’s voice was soothing, calming Tim down from any panic he had.
“What were you doing tossing boiling water into the air outside?” Tom wasn’t actually angry, despite how it sounded. His rough nature had any stranger seeing him as grumpy and rude, but anyone who knew him could see how big his heart was, especially for Tim.
“I saw online that it would turn into mist in the air… “
“Did you check how cold it had to be for it to work?”
“It said it had to be snowing. It’s snowing outside right now.”
“That’s not snow, it's ice. Even if it is cold enough you should’ve had one of us there.”
“You wouldn’t let me do something like that. You’d say it would be unsafe.”
“And it clearly is.”
“Both of you just take a deep breath,” Becky cut in. “Tom, can you go make sure Hannah is okay? I’ll make sure Tim is taken care of.”
Tom hesitated a moment before grumbling as he left the room. Becky continued to help cool off Tim’s back with the cold water. Soon she gently patted his back dry before putting an ointment cream onto the burns.
“I’m sorry… “
“It's okay Tim. I know you really want to do experiments like this, but you have to be careful.”
“But I saw videos of kids even younger than me doing it!” Becky thought for a moment as she helped Tim carefully pull a fresh shirt on.
“Did I ever tell you about the story behind this?” Becky pulled up the sleeve of her shirt to reveal a small reddened burn mark on her arm. Tim shook his head. “Well not too long ago, in fact about a month or so ago, I was at a little bonfire with some friends. Now since we’re adults, we can usually handle fire and hot things. But, I wasn’t careful for a moment and my arm caught a bit in the fire. And I got hurt.”
“Did it hurt a lot?”
“Not too much, but it hurt enough for me to never want it to happen again. Even adults need to be careful when it comes to dangerous things. Your dad was right about needing an adult there.”
“But he would never let me do it.”
“Did you ask him if you could?”
“No… but he doesn’t like experiments like that… even though he works with saws and other tools.”
“He may seem to not like them but he also doesn’t want you to get hurt. It may not seem like it sometimes but you’re his everything. He wants to see you happy, but also wants you safe. And hey, if there’s an experiment you want to do that he won't let you, I can see what I can do to change that.”
“Really. Then you’ll have a nurse there to make sure no one gets hurt.”
“Thank you Ms. Becky!” Tim hugged her tight, Becky giving a gentle hug back so as to not irritate his back.
Tim had gone off to play some video games of his with Hannah and Lex in his room. Becky was cleaning up the pieces of their abandoned monopoly game when she noticed Tom still grumbling slightly to himself as he put away a few things in the kitchen.
“Tom it's okay, the burns aren’t too severe, only surface ones.”
“It could’ve been worse.” He was being a little short, clearly still upset over the whole thing. Becky made her way to him, gently wrapping her arms around him from the side.
“Well I’m sure I did a good job convincing him to ask one of us first before doing anything like that again.”
“What did you tell him?”
“A little story that convinced him that even adults need to be careful.” Tom gave her a quizzing look, so she pulled up her sleeve to reveal the burn mark on her arm. “I told him about me accidentally getting burned at a bonfire a month or so ago.”
“Oh is that how that happened?”
“No… “ She rolled her sleeve back down. Tom stopped whatever he was putting away, turning to focus on her. He gently took her hands in his, giving her a moment to collect herself on how much she wanted to say about the matter. “I got it one night when… Stanley was pretty drunk and… shoved me against the oven… The stove top was on… “
“Becky… “ He spoke softer now, as if it was only him and her in the world. He let his forehead rest against hers in comfort and she smiled.
“It’s okay… I think the bonfire story is a way cooler backstory to the scar.”