You are sitting on the grass, in the sun, your little legs stretched out before you. The tinsel on your Christmas hat glitters and sways. You’ve chosen your own food, which is heaped on a large paper plate upon your lap. All around you the school yard teems with laughing kindergarteners, their parents and teachers watching on lackadaisically.
For a moment you’re looking at me from afar. For a moment you do not recognise me. For a moment you are tiny and beautiful and alone—you haven’t yet hardened, you don’t yet know. You are oblivious to the things of tomorrow, beyond the playground. For a moment I cannot stop time from happening to you.
Then I wave, or you see me, and you grin in surprise. I hold you, this little flame who grew in the dark; now sharing food and conversation with me; now running away, sneakers kicking up sand, kicking away vulnerability, on the way to play.