Kojo stayed closer to me than usual. He didn’t stray far from the boundaries of the the lakeside railing, the front wheel of the stroller, and my left side. Under the light of the day, he prefers to run ahead, wait for me to catch up and then repeat. His trot is comfortably led by his right foot, light and airy, yet bold and confident as if he’s running a victory lap at a crowded stadium.
This evening, his steps are still light but more like the tiptoeing of a ballerina dancing on only a tiny piece of the giant stage around her. The sky is now dark grey soaking in the light of the tall buildings across the lake. The water, although never transparent even in daylight, looks like it’s covered by a thin sheet of reflective glass. The lake watches enviously our unique mix of motions.
We were supposed to leave the house earlier. That was the plan. Somehow the path coming down from the bedroom was not a direct one. After going back for clean socks, stopping at the kitchen, grabbing a snack, filling a water bottle, feeding Lola for the second time, kicking around the soccer ball, discovering a bamboo stick, testing out the baseball glove, locking the gate and then going back for a flashlight, we were finally on our way.
We had spent all day inside and both felt the need to fill up some open space under the sky. There are only a few street lamps by the lake but we were determined to light our own way. The frequently passing motorbikes agreed to help.
“Is that the hotel we see from our window?” Kojo was anxious to complete the missing landscape that was now covered in darkness. “Does that road go behind Hung’s house? Have we been down there before?”
There was a lull between passing motorbikes.
“What’s that sound, Mamma?”
I wanted to ask him what he thought but I could sense his need for certainty.
We shined the flashlight towards the dried lotus leaves and the muddy grass at the edge of the water. His foot rested on the blue railing. The distance between him and me had now completely disappeared.
“I don’t see them,” he whispered.
“Neither do I. But they’re letting us know they are there by singing their song.”
I felt Kojo’s shoulders lift and his lungs fill with air in order to say something. I prepared myself for the next question.
Instead, he stayed quiet. We listened together and each completed the missing scenery in our own minds.
I vowed when we set off that tomorrow I would get us out of the house earlier. Now, returning home with him comfortably riding in the stroller, I wonder, “What’s the hurry?”