We arrived in the gloaming, half hoping for a shout of recognition or perhaps a few cuddles…
Though we immediately knew from the way they stood conspiring in the distance that there would be none. They were already lost in a world where only other nine-year-olds mattered.
Tonight, only for each other would they tell their stories…share their secrets…walk too close to the fire….
Who were we, after all? Just some dumb grownups. Not even their parents, the ones who called them in from the darkness, interrupted their plotting, made them wear bug spray, and, sigh, sit down to supper.
No, we were not they—though we had grown to love them in our own paternal way. And so we were careful to snatch our moments wherever and whenever they were offered. For we sensed just how fleeting those moments were….