Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Nightmare Fuel, Day the Twentieth

A rare afternoon post as I catch up to make up the one I missed.

I tend to be smarter in the morning, so we'll see how this one goes.


He's at one of those between ages. Your kid is a toddler, no longer a baby. He still has that wobbly toddler walk, could sometimes make those two-word sentences little kids do. Sometimes you even understand him. Sometimes.

The season is late fall - also an in-between time. It's too late for apple-picking, to early to huddle inside by the fire. A day for the park, for toddling through fallen leaves, dried brown and crunching underfoot. That's the  kind of day it is when you see her.

Photo by Andrea Trask
You don't think much at first; it's a nice grassy park, one of the last days still pleasant enough to frolic outside. Truth be told, you don't even  notice her. What you see is the stroller. It's weird that she left her stroller in the  middle of the lawn, between trees. No kids are playing near it, but that's not weird. Strollers are boring. You'd think she''d have pushed it against a tree and out of the way (you're sure it's a she - men almost always hover near their strollers and bags and kids' bikes. It's one of those things), but you might be adding that later. It's hard to know.

You sit under a tree to check facebook on your phone, perhaps post a picture or two of the glorious fall day. It's OK, your kid is nearby, you're surrounded by other parents, and he needs a touch of freedom to run and play. It's the right thing.

Everytime you look up you see that he's a boundless bundle of energy, kicking up what seem to be literally impossible clouds of leaves, toddle-running around. You go back to your phone.

Minutes later he's toddled back to you, energy and attention span exhausted. You glance up and see her, a woman about your age, pushing the empty green stroller away from the lawn. She's leaning into the handles, pushing hard as if against a great weight. The stroller's wheels dig deep into the leaves as mother and stroller move away. Your boy looks longingly at the empty stroller, says something that might be "new friend".   

He can walk, but you carry him back to your car to bundle him in for the ride home.

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