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Jim knew he had to be the adult here, but adulting was hard. At least in some circumstances.

He had never planned to have kids. He had decided long ago he’d make a terrible father. Sometimes he revisited that opinion but even still such a thing hadn’t been in his plans.

Being faced with Sam’s son, therefore, hadn’t ever even been something he considered. Sam had abandoned Jim long ago. Jim hadn’t even known there was a kid until he’d been notified after the end of the five-year-mission that Sam and his wife had been killed in a shuttle crash on some planet called Deneva.      

Their son, Peter, now seven years old, was living with Jim’s mom.

Jim approached the boy as he sat on the back porch of the Kirk’s farmhouse. It was late October, but at the moment it was still relatively light outside.

Jim carried a largish pumpkin with him.

“Hey.”

Peter glanced at him but did not smile or greet him in return. He was seated on the bottom step of the porch.

Jim sat down beside him. It wasn’t as easy as it used to be.

“I brought a pumpkin. Thought you might like to help me carve it.”

“Okay.”

“You don’t have to if you don’t want to, though. It’s just Spock’s going to carve one and we’re going to have a contest as to whose looks the best.” Jim sighed. “He’ll probably cream me without your help.”

Peter looked at him. “You don’t wanna carve it with him?”

Jim smiled. “Too much competitiveness between us. I mean, sure, he’s my husband, but he likes to prove he’s better than me.”

“Seems illogical.”

“Sure does. And if you don’t help me, I’ll be stuck with your grandma and she’s the world’s worst pumpkin carver.” He gently ruffled Peter’s hair. “We can have hot apple cider while we do it. And cookies.”

Peter looked like he was thinking about it and then he nodded. “Okay, sure.”

Jim patted his leg and stood. “Grab that pumpkin and let’s go.”

His nephew had lost both of his parents and was devastated. Jim knew. It wasn’t much, Jim guessed, but a bit of progress with Peter was better than nothing. He put his hand on the kid’s shoulder and smiled as they entered the house.