Out the gate, backpacks jumping, and into the heart of a suburban morning. The simplest of connectives, from home to school is a pair of comfortable 8-irons. One to the corner, and then one to the playground.
By the gate, I guard after them. Alex and Max dissolve around the turn, with a sudden jolt to the right.
It’s their first time. It’s both ordinary and extraordinary.
In my car, I edge around the block to meet them. Our bond’s broken by a tangle of local geography and ribboned tarmac. The one-way street demands I steer away from them, counterintuitively, cruelly, past the park, and then down a hopefully untroubled avenue.
Of course, their little world grows. Out they go, in beautiful binary.
It’s one hundred seconds of quarantined blackness. It’s one hundred seconds of paused parental terror, but it’s also one hundred seconds they need.
Alex and Max have jettisoned from my troposphere, but I launch to them like a satellite, eager to discover a warm orbit.
At the intersection by their school, my car crouches as the outdoor squeals spurt through the open window like snatches of pop songs.
And there they are, bouncing along the path, side-by-side, as brothers should, their flapping shorts of shamrock-green, quince-peels of hair. The roadside trees fold forwards.
Spotting me is simple permission for them to accelerate to school, exploding scraps of rainbow. They scamper through the gate, and to their mates.
I yell after them, but my voice vaporises behind their giraffe legs and the innocent rush of a new day. “Good job, boys. See you tonight!”
Misty-eyed, I drive off. A bright, early morning, already it seems late.
Soon, it will be.