I sit on the playground bench next to my pal, a Russian grandpa who takes care of his granddaughter all day. The granddaughter, a little older and a little taller than M, is ‘sharing’ his trucks; meaning the two have been peaceably dividing the trucks between them for about twenty minutes and are now eyeballing each other in preparation for a good cathartic fistfight. M grabs, the Russian girl swings and lands one truck on M’s head, he shoves back, snatches away the truck of contention and comes flying at me in dismay, and I open my knees and fold him back into my body, my arms all around him, his yowls muffled in my sand-bag breasts. I hold him.
He should defend himself, but this time he really started it. “Why did you grab that truck from her?” I ask him. “You have enough. You were sharing so nicely.”
“NO-O!” says M, up into my face, as if I’m missing the point, and I probably am.
“Okay,” I say, “but we brought a lot of trucks. That’s your friend. Can you play some more?”
“No,” M says, burying his face in my thigh now, and anyway the grandpa is prying trucks from the little girl’s hands and getting ready to leave. My heart falls, and I imagine the grandpa to be disappointed in me, for some reason. I like this friend for M, she gives him a run for his money. She cries angrily and stamps her foot. M watches. I can’t tell if he cares.
“I’m sorry,” I say to the grandpa as he steers her away.
“No worry,” he says, “see you.”
Little H, busily chewing a velour duck till now, starts to cry.