today when he got off the school bus, we walked home under a canopy of early-autumn-full trees, sunlight filtering through, hundreds of dots of light speckled the sidewalks.
somehow we started talking about freckles. i pointed out a new one on his cheek. it’s very small and light. to this, he smiled and said, “now i have four freckles” and counted off the other three. one on a right knuckle. one on a left knuckle. one in the palm of his hand. tiny dark brown smudges. proud and adorable.
but this counting took my breath away. stopped me in my steps. i kept flipping his hands over and back. studying, you see. what kind of mother doesn’t know about such things? freckles. perhaps he’s been staring at his hands and counting these three for years. over and over. one-two-three. one-two-three. without me. and i never knew. i have never before seen those lovely little dots that mark my boy’s hands.
his fingers locked into mine, as we turned the corner home. leaves began blowing down. the seasonal beginning of the trees’ release. soon there will be beautiful yellow leaves covering the ground.