The tendrils of sleep still linger about him as he walks into the room. Without a word, he lies down beside me, snuggling closely beneath a blanket the color of raw silk. He is wearing his dinosaur pajama bottoms, but his chest is bare. I wrap my arms around him, and lean over to place a soft kiss on his honey-brown shoulder, where the sun has brushed its lips before me.
Later, when the air is thick and still with heat, we will make our way down the trail. We will walk silently as the sun beats down without compassion onto the top of my head, and his red baseball cap. The heat will make the trail seem longer than we remembered, and just when we reach the point of regretting coming at all, an opening will appear like a gift in the brush on the right. He will shout for joy, and then we will slip into the shadowed coolness.
It will take only a moment for him to abandon sandals, hat, and shirt on the bank before his dog follows him into the icy flow. I wade in as well, but only up to my calves as I watch the two of them explore under mossy rocks looking for crayfish, while hoping for a fiercer beast.
After awhile, I will return to the bank and find respite on a fallen log as I watch them settle into a quiet pool where dappled sunlight plays upon the water’s surface, drinking deeply of all it means to be a boy and his dog on a summer’s afternoon.
The deep shadows of that place will lull us into timelessness, and when we finally emerge onto the trail again, we will find the world a different place entirely, black storm clouds blocking out the once fierce sun. Suddenly, the wind will be upon us, and fear will seize us as we realize we have tarried too long, and have no place to hide. The rumbling thunder will break the spell, and then, with the driving rain behind us, and the trees lashing in terror above us, we will race for home.
“Run! Run!” We will shout to each other until at last, shelter is within reach, and we fling ourselves inside, slamming the door behind us, to stand dripping, radiant with survival.
Then, he will turn and climb the stairs to go change into something drier, while I busy myself gathering together the pieces of the memory, tucking it safely away for lonelier times.