My Son walks up behind me, so light footed He’s silent except for when His ankle cracks. He stops near my shoulder, and we both look out the window. A full moon gleams near the gray-smudged horizon, a sear of white against a darkening golden sky. Humidity beads on my forehead and sticks my tunic to my back. The savory smell of roasting meat, the smoke from its fat and juice sizzling on the spit, clings to my hair, and the tang of tart herbs stings my sinuses. In the street, two boys, no older than five, chase each other—and a rooster. Giggles split into shrieks. Dust flies under skidding feet and cakes onto scabbed knees. Turquoise and red feathers twirl to the ground.
I chuckle, the sound coming out half drowned. I pry my swollen throat open before I speak so He can’t hear the strain. “Remember that?”
“I still have the scar.” He runs His thumb over a lump of thickened skin on His lower shin.
I roll my eyes, and this time, the laugh comes free easier. So does the water threatening at my eyelashes. “Serves you right, jumping off the worktable.”
“Hey, I almost caught him.”
We both laugh until the sound fades into feeble smiles. Half of his brown curls are tied back with a thin strip of fabric, the rest hanging at his neck; I can still picture when He was the age of those boys in the street, how those loose coils would stick out in all directions like a frizzy cloud right after He woke up. Now he carries a faint waft of sawdust. He must have been whittling just before this.
His eyes, so deep brown they’re almost black, gaze at me. A thin crescent of glistening water creeps up at their bottoms before He blinks them away, and the whites and lids are clear again.
I swallow hard, neglecting the sharp twist in my chest. “Are You ready?”
He cracks a knuckle, and the side of His neck twitches, as if His heart gave a too-sharp pulse. “I am.”
Yes, You are.
I nod, then turn back to the window before my vision can blur. I rock back on my heels, and He’s standing close enough that my shoulder blade briefly skims His heartbeat. It pounds like a war drum.
“You go rest,” I tell Him. “Dinner will be ready in a few minutes.”