“Sixty days for what?” (I have to know).
“Since I was in grade one and now I’m in grade 2”
I wondered if that was a long time or a short time in his life. Mostly I was fixated on negotiating the gridlock of traffic at the corner of Lakeshore and Sarsons and silently appealed to the parking genie for a spot close to wherever it was we were going.
“Right in front of the police car, park there”, he says.
I do what I’m told.
He has a new found authority I haven’t seen in him before, I suppose being in grade two and all comes with a greater sense of purpose and perhaps the promise of a different kind of freedom.
Anne McClymont Elementary is a large building and a smaller building each built on opposite sides of a major road. Workers with heavy equipment and flag people directing traffic made the first day of school for a zillion children (and their Moms and Dads, the little sister and sometimes the dog) just that much more chaotic.
We crossed the street and I followed him down the sidewalk not sure how to distinguish between the big school and the little school. “It’s this one here I have to go to” he said, madly jabbing his pointed finger in midair in the direction of the building I (thankfully) parked closest to. I stopped at the first sight of parents with small children as he carried on.
“I thought it was this one?” I yelled into the distance.
“Nope, that’s for kindergarteners, I’m in grade two now, follow me”.
Around the corner and down the side of the building was a second crowd of parents huddled under umbrellas renewing friendships. Children in shiny gumboots and pink unicorn raincoats milled about as he disappeared from my sight. I spotted him easily, there was a streak of mud down one side of the crisp once-clean jeans where he’d fallen in the driveway in the scramble up to my door when his mom dropped him off. Black sneakers with a bright red sole matched his black backpack, red stripe down the edge. He stood next to the wall in the line up, looking forward as the teachers opened both doors and greeted the crowd with beaming grade two teacher-smiles.
He moved along, inward. In through those double doors, around the corner and out of site. He didn’t look back.
I silently dropped a love bomb on those grade two teachers.