This weekend, the weather turned warm again. While the rest of the country is digging out from storms, under the heavy weight of snow, Los Angeles is pure brightness.
I took advantage of the heat to go on a solo run.
My path took me out of my neighborhood, up and down hills, and over to the park where H was playing roller-hockey. I figured I’d do a few more laps around the soccer fields, watch the pick-up game and hitch a ride home.
But as I sat on the metal bleachers watching H skate in his red helmet, watching men be boys with sticks and pucks, I turned to see a little blonde boy watching me. He was circling me, shyly taking steps forward. I waved and he waved back, smiling.
I said “hi” and he said “hi”. I asked him a question and he said “yeah”.
The older man watching over the boy said, “He doesn’t speak English. He only speaks Russian.”
Oh. We seemed to be getting along fine with “hi” and “yeah”. The older man said the boy’s name translated to Timothy and that they were heading home.
I turned back to the game, the crack of wooden sticks on the hot concrete, the ping of a puck on a goal post.
In my peripheral I spotted Timothy making his way back up the bleachers, determined. He climbed, his legs too short to step over completely, scooted on his butt and turned to take on the next step. He was coming to sit near me.
I moved down and over a few steps, sitting next to him. I said, “hockey”. He said, “yeah”. He pointed to the rink and laughed.
We sat like that for a while, while H packed up his pads, stuffing them in a bag large enough for me to fit in. “I made a new friend,” I said to H, and leaned back so he could see the little boy perched next to me. H laughed and said, “hi” and received a “yeah” in response.
“I have to go bye-bye,” I said to Timothy, waving. His face crinkled and he got up to follow me. The height of the bleachers and his unsteady body made me nervous, so I put out my hands to lift him. He reached right for me, letting me pick him up.
His warm chest, his little armpits, his weight and lightness all made me dizzy. I had a flash to picking up my own child.
Timothy was about 18 months, maybe a little older, so close to the age the first baby would’ve been by now. If we’d had a boy, he’d probably be as fair-haired and blue-eyed as this little being hovering around me.
It felt like a little visit. Like this boy knew much more than I did, and certainly didn’t care that I didn’t speak his native language. Maybe our encounter was to assure me the little soul that left me went on to another path, another life. Maybe it was to assure me that this mothering thing is something I can do naturally. Maybe it was to give me something tangible to focus on, the sound of his voice, the gleeful smile, to pull me towards my own children. To help outweigh the fears of getting pregnant, and therefore, miscarrying again.
Maybe it wasn’t anything more than a little boy who thought I looked like his mom and found comfort in that.
Whatever the reason, it felt just a little bit like magic, like a veil dissolved for a sweet moment to deliver the words it’s all going to be ok.