I have asked my children to stay four-year-olds before.
Just for two years, maybe.
I ask nicely, but so far,
For once, I had been shopping
without them and the checkout
seemed otherwise mundane.
The son in front of me
with his parents was a grown man
his thrill regarding his purchase
of toy Matchbox car sets
was dignified though barely contained.
Reluctantly, he placed them on
the conveyor belt. Impulsively,
he seized them again,
held them close, put them
back at his father's gentle nudge.
When their boy removed his glasses
to rub his eyes (itchy, he said)
he replaced them over the grey hair
of his temples.
His mother handed her son the bag
to carry. Tickled, he peered in and
confirmed the inclusion of a fuel truck.
Toward the exit
the son clutched the bag in one arm
and in gratitude wrapped the other
around his elderly mother who
I had been shopping without
my children, for once.
© by Kathryn Guelcher.
Used with the author’s permission.