Larry left before I was really awake. I vaguely recollect that he kissed me goodbye as I nursed Caed. I remember smiling when he offered his pinky, hoping his son would hold on, to prevent him from walking out the door. Caed caught the finger with his fist and swung his father's arm in their first father-son handshake.
"I don't want to leave." he said.
I nodded that I knew.
I pulled on a sweatshirt, pulled up some sweatpants, tied my old running shoes, and called myself dressed. I guided Caed's tiny arms through the sleeves of a blue and red hoodie, and when I placed him in the stroller his head nearly disappeared amid the fleece.
Among the eager leaves of early fall.
Past the squirrels playing in the old cemetery.
Pulled downhill by the stroller, eyes half closed to avert the sun's brazen morning stare, I walked.
Past the stop where tourists hurried and commuters trudged.
Onto the brick sidewalks, past the row houses and store fronts.
Block after block.
We stopped to pick up the dry cleaning.
I pulled back the stroller shade to show the clerk, to tell her he was just four weeks while she oohed and ahhed.
He slept with sweet rise and fall of tiny ribs, the fresh air doing favor after favor for the both of us.
If ever there was a time for coffee, this was it.
So I steered the stroller wheels directly into battle with the stoop of the coffee shop, my pride perhaps the only casualty. "They should make these places new mother accessible," I joked to the businessman trapped behind me on his way to a double shot. He didn't smile. I didn't care.
I don't even remember how I got out of there, with coffee in hand no less. But I did. And within a minute, we were perched by the fountain in the courtyard.
I sipped with one hand, swayed and played the stroller like a bow against the brick. Back and forth, a soothing rhythm.
And then I stopped, sat, leaned in, listened to his sleepy whimpers, heard him sigh and grunt.
And I cried.
I cried so hard my shoulders shook.
It was a wallflower day, just another row of ordinary moments.
I never saw any of it coming.
I didn't expect the tears or the panic, the swells of emotion that left me scratching my previously level-head. I didn't expect the love that burrowed so deep so fast, or the peace that misted over me when he slept in the crook of my arm.
But on that wallflower day, in that ordinary moment, it was the joy. Yes, it was the joy that surprised me most of all.
Now it's your turn.
1) The prompt this week was SURPRISE, but you can write about whatever suits your fancy, as long as the subject is in the rear view mirror.
2) Use the Mcklinky below to paste in the permanent link to your Flashback Friday post. (Make sure it's the link to your Flashback Friday post and not your home page).
3) Next week's prompt is MUSICAL MEMORY, the idea being to write about a song and what memory it takes you back to. Also, if you have a suggestion for a future prompt, please leave it in the comments or send me an email. Would love to hear your ideas!