We were at the beach yesterday. A glorious day. Windy, not too hot. Hubby remembered to pack the Cape Cod potato chips. Perfect.
But then this woman stood in front of us. Hot orange robe. Bathing suit underneath. Mammoth black camera in her hands.
Her husband and three kids cavorted in the surf. Her youngest, a toddler with a thatch of deliciously blond hair that stuck straight up from his skull, kept running back to her. He would clutch her robe and throw himself down onto the sand, trying to take her with him. Trying.
She'd just shoo him off. She went back to directing her family. Jump in the waves. Climb that rock. Go out further. Smile.
Why the farce of even wearing a bathing suit, I wondered.
Hubby caught me frowning at her. You noticed, he said. I was just going to say something.
I squeezed his hand and said, What do you think she'll say? Here, look. The photos I took of you, living life. Without me. As I watched, yes, but as I watched from behind glass. As I filtered you from me.
He squeezed back, and we both eyed at our boys. Each in their beach chairs. Consumed in manga and iPods and bikini-watching. Each no longer so interested in dancing in the waves with their parents.
What I wanted to do was tackle her myself. To shout at her that little boys with blond hair grow up too quickly. That bad things can happen and steal the future away from you, how every moment is precious. That if she doesn't run into the surf now, she will never.
Instead Hubby offered me more potato chips and kissed me. I know we don't have photos, those keepsakes of our boys, he finally said. But I'm relieved.