It’s only been a week, but it feels like much longer. I’ve been worried about Little Biker Boy, and I felt relieved to see him.
He and his mother have moved again. (Yes, that’s right, after only a week.) But I think it’s a good move. She broke up with the boyfriend, and she’s back on her own, in a small apartment with Little Biker Boy. She’s got a job at a little store within walking distance of the apartment. It’s about four miles from where I live.
Little Biker Boy, I could tell, had had a rough week, but he’s okay, at least for now. He’s back in school. He said that he’s seen his sister, and she likes the school she’s going to. His mother seemed fine with him coming to my house for a visit. I’m hoping we can work this into a weekly routine.
Once he was in my car, he showed me his sneakers, “The soles are coming off,” he said. “I need new ones.”
He and I have a deal: he tells me when he needs new stuff. So we made a detour to the store. Once in the shoe department, he sat on the floor and took off his sneakers. I picked one up to look at the size and realized it was soaking wet. He’d been outside in the slush all day. His socks, too, were sopping wet. They smelled pretty awful.
“Ew,” I said. “I don’t think you can try shoes on with those socks.”
He looked at me. Then I looked down. My feet are about the same size as his. “Quick,” I whispered. “Let’s switch socks.”
I don’t know why I was whispering. I mean, it might be a little strange to switch socks in the store, but it’s not illegal or anything.
“I’m gonna wear your socks?” he asked in disbelief. I sat on the floor next to him and began taking off my shoes.
“Oh, they probably aren’t mine,” I assured him. “I take With-a-Why’s socks all the time.”
By then we were both barefoot, sitting on the linoleum floor, surrounded by holiday shoppers who were rushing carts up and down the aisles. We were both trying to be quiet, which made him giggle.
“These are nice and dry,” he said as he pulled my socks on.
“These aren’t,” I said, yanking on his wet socks. I made a face, and he laughed out loud.
“You wanted them,” he said. He was grinning.
“Try on the sneakers,” I said.
He was hungry, so we got slices of pizza and ate them in my warm car while we talked. We drove through snowy roads, with him exclaiming at the Christmas lights. I’m not a big fan of tacky holiday displays, but he loved even the corniest fake Santa Claus. When we got to my house, Shaggy Hair Boy was playing the piano.
“Can we have a fire?” Little Biker Boy asked. He helped me build it. He loves to be the person to light the match.
“I want to roll in the snow,” he said once we had a fire going. I lent him my boots.
“I’ll go with him,” said Shaggy Hair Boy. He grabbed his coat, and they ran out into the backyard which was covered with fresh snow.
With-a-Why turned from the computer and looked out the window. “They’re making angels,” he reported.
When Little Biker Boy came back in, he said, “I have a surprise for you!” Then he pulled me to the front porch to show me: he had shoveled a path to the door, just like he’s done so many times over the last two winters. Then he settled down in front of the fire with his new plastic wrestling figures, and we talked until it was time for me to take him back home.