This Little Boy

For Lucy


I am walking down a long path in what seems to be a park or a garden. Above me and on both sides of me are beautiful cherry blossom trees. Their dark branches reaching up and their pink flowers sitting delicately on their branches. It is a sunny afternoon and as I am walking I feel the warmth of the sun filter through the trees and onto my skin.

I look down to my right and holding my hand is a little boy. He is walking with me too. He looks up to me, squinting a little in the sun, and smiles. This is my son. He is here with me and enjoying this moment, this walk, this day. He has a little skip in his step and I’m not sure if it’s because he is happy and excited or he just wants to keep up with my grown-up steps. I love him and his little squint and his little skip and his little fingers and his little nose. I love him so much that my heart hurts trying to carry all the love in there that wants to overflow for him and keep him holding my hand forever.

Ahead I see a little brown bird at the base of one of the trees at the side of the path. The little boy sees it too. He stops in his tracks and points towards the bird, a big grin on his face and sparkling eyes. The bird is moving around in hops which makes the boy chuckle. The bird keeps hop, hop hopping and the chuckle becomes a squeal and then a belly laugh. My heart sings in seeing the joy in a plain old common brown bird’s movements simply because of this little boy.

The bird flies away with a chirp that has a sharp sound that remains and then fades after it is out of sight. And then it is silent.

I look to the boy and he is looking up at me. His lower lip protrudes slightly and his eyes moisten. He sniffs a few times and begins to cry.

I crouch down to his level and he wraps his arms around my neck and buries his head under my chin. His source of pure joy is gone in an instant, in all of the enjoying, and he is sad and he is feeling it. Unabashedly.

I sit down more comfortably, leaning my back against one of the cherry blossoms. His crying has quietened down but he is happy to stay in a big cuddle. And so am I. So there we sit.

We sit while dog walkers and cyclists go by. We sit while stirrings of impatience, schedules and ‘should’s bubble up from within me and then evaporate from my skin. We are happy here, calm here, resting here, relaxing here. We need nothing else and no one else right now.

The cherry blossoms are watching over us and we are safe, happy and content. I breathe deeply and contentedly. A single cherry blossom flower floats down from above and lands on the little boy’s hair. I notice that he has fallen asleep in my arms. I love this little boy.