Cold air inside the brownstone. The door latch clicks. My feet heavy on the wooden stairs.
The boy follows a few steps behind. Breathing quickly. His shoes have holes and his lips are chapped.
He will follow me to the bottom of the world.
“Don’t forget your coat,” he will say.
I’ll give him a thumbs up as I shrug into a yellow parka from the closet. Then I’ll quote Yeats as I’m packing my bag:
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand.
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.
He’ll smile and bow theatrically. One hand on the heart and the other twirling over the head.
But I raise my hand and he knows it’s not quite time. Cartwheels down the stairs and out the open door.
My heart tumbles after him.