The last time I was in there was also a quiet afternoon alone with G. I was still on maternity leave and he wasn't yet enrolled in daycare and every afternoon then was a shared quiet before the regular time in the evening when we would get his sisters. Then he was a tiny thing in my arms. He was a horizontal caterpillar in the cocoon of my arms. I fed him that day, sitting on one of the stools in the kids' coloring area in the back. It smelled like rosemary and saffron and sage near the coloring corner.
Today, we noticed a bench in the warm sunlight in the front pane window. The sky was aggressively lit, sun scraping through the horizontal caterpillar clouds. The sky looked rent, like your God is a vengeful God, like He clawed the tapestry between heaven and earth. We sat on the bench in the front pane window, in the laser sheets of sunset tearing through the overcast sky, and I fed him. He's no horizontal creature now, and he couldn't drink for more than a minute without climbing up to explore. The front of the store smelled like pickling spices and mulling spices and fresh-cracked pepper and G smelled like milk and caramel-sweat and laughter and cars whizzed past outside and dust motes floated down from heaven inside and G looked everywhere but in the cocoon of my arms. He stood on the bench and clapped on its top rail and poked his reflection in the plate glass and squinted when the laser sheets of heaven, sent obviously by a benevolent God, lit his face too squarely.
I couldn't keep his attention on eating but instead I sat protectively around him as he kissed his own image and watched his world go 'round and reached for invisible specks and danced his own halo and I smelled the warm spices and kissed his sweet head and gave thanks for a quiet afternoon with my boy.