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.