Caleb was crying as his mother left.
“Let’s go for a walk.” Destination: ice cream.
We walked, starting together, then me leading.
From his two-almost-three-year-old vantage point, the street holds a world of discovery: stones, puddles, pine cones, a pair of shoes, a glove, a bottle cap. Treasures. He picked up three pine cones watering them in the puddles. I grabbed his hand to cross the street. A woman came up behind us.
“Let her pass! You’re lollygagging.”
He said, “Let’s hurry.” OK. So we did, for a minute.
We jaywalked to the other side. Three men inside a barbershop. Caleb stopped to look in while I kept walking.
He caught up with me as one of the men from the barber shop walked past us greeting Caleb. Caleb said nothing. The man said, “I’m dark, but I’m not a monster.” Then he pulled out his wallet and gave Caleb a dollar.
Caleb quietly said, “Thank you.” The man didn’t hear as he walked away already talking on his phone.
“Now, you can help pay for ice cream,” I said.
Another two blocks. Me leading as he lagged behind scouring the ground.