His legs, long and lean, seem to take up half the room, stretching off the couch and across the skinny coffee table in front of him. His feet, bigger now than his dad’s, much bigger than mine, are crossed at the ankles. I remember those same legs, short and chubby, sticking straight out from his highchair, swinging them while he gummed his banana and watched me in the kitchen. A long time ago.
In this room, he turns the pages of a book, silently gobbling up words and stories off the page, his long smooth fingers reaching over absently to floss through the dog’s fur. Words and words and words stack up behind his eyes, filing themselves into an unseen order in his mind, building paths and patterns and memories and pictures, so much uncharted room for thoughts to roam in the paths of his fascinating brain.
I remember him walking toward me with his book of choice, climbing into my lap, his face turned up toward mine. I read words and words and words, repetition carving their way into his map of memory, his fingers pointing and his little voice filling in when I skipped a word.
Feels like a moment ago I could smell his baby shampoo.
In this room, he mumbles a comment every once in a while as he reads, how much he likes the song playing on the speaker, how good this page is in his book, how much he likes the ice cream I bought, and could I please buy some more? I listen and am finally adjusting to the sound of his new voice after months of looking around surprised a man was talking in the house somewhere when my husband wasn’t home.
For a long time, my ears remained perked and searching for the sweet, high music of his little boy voice. I’m starting to forget what he sounded like exactly. This makes me have a flash of panic, and I remind myself that somewhere deep in my memory the sound of his little voice is there, stored in my own files, in my own mind.
I go back to watching his fingers turn the page, and I remember the first time I saw them, a wand gliding over my belly, picking up the movements of those same hands, watching what he was up to underneath my very skin. So. Long. Ago.
In moments like this, I could drink him.
In moments like this, I thank God for the magic of memory.
In moments like this, I could go deeper and deeper and deeper. I could think about the miracle of him, how he shines like a star in the sky of my life, but instead, today, I’ll just sit here and watch him over my glasses and enjoy the view.
And I think he grew in the time it took me to write these words.