She then comes to sit next to me in a two-seat section. She smells faintly of shit.
Skinny arms, ill-fitting clothes, too-big hands and feet, the whole thing. This boy is perfectly poised to break my heart in a moment. He is eleven or twelve and sitting by himself by the window on a medium-crowded train. I can’t look at him without seeing him right on the edge; he’ll either pull himself into the world or get smashed by it. He is looking out into the tunnels mostly, and in his own world totally. When we pull into a station, he looks at the two daffodils in his hands, two different kinds. First he looks at one and then he looks at the other. He has nothing else with him. I almost cry my way up the stairs. This is my problem.
It must be daddy’s day to watch her and behind his sunglasses and be-spangled outfit he is very uncomfortable with the task. Even with so many muscles, it is hard to look tough with a baby. It is hard to bend, over and over to pick up a toy that is not casually dropped. It is hard to be something that you are not. She is so cute, and he, well. I don’t think he has realized the reservoir of goodwill he could garner if he just removed his sunglasses.