LPQ

I forgot to put the keys in Willow’s backpack for the babysitter.  I realized this on the 4 or the 5 train to work as I pulled out two pairs from my bag.  I closed my hands on their cold metal and softly muttered Shit to some glances.  But no one really paid me any mind.  I could have been bemoaning the heat while hurling underground to sit in my windowless office.

I made a plan to have Rosanna bring Willow to my midtown office and retrieve the keys.

Something caught my heart when Willow bounced into the marble lobby.  There was a gentle unease.  In her buoyancy, I was less able to protect her.  There was nothing specific to fear.  But I could see that the way she moved about in the world had changed in a matter of days.  It had grown less afraid.

She was golden now too, blessed with a week’s constant Fire Island sun.  She was taking up more space.  I couldn’t bring her to my small, artificially cold office.  I didn’t think it could hold her.

We walked to Le Pain Quotidien and sat down to cheesecake, lemon tart, and mixed berry tart at a table near the front.  I shoved down a panic over work to-dos I'd promised by EoD.  I helped Willow cut her tart with plastic wear and she judged its "bake" and structure in a manner gleaned from the Great British Baking Show.  

“Hmm.  This is a very good tart.  Well done.”  Then she took the biggest bite possible.  I was incredibly proud.  It strummed the back of my throat with raspberry gelatin.