I see you standing on the sloping grass, arms folded, bereft.
I call to you: “Are you okay?”
You’d been playing happily with a pair of 6-year-olds for over an hour – fast playground friends, friends with a ball. The shrieks of laughter, the running, the glee making my stint at the playground so effortless.
“Theo?” I see your face collapse as the hot tears of rejection roll down your cheeks. You sob: “They said they don’t want to play with me.”
I feel the heat rise, my face reddening. I stare at the boys as they run way, boys who were sweet and fun and nice moments ago, are now the enemy. “How can they be so cruel?” I want to run over and shake them.
But I don’t.
I wander over tentatively carrying my gangly sobbing 4-year-old naïvely hoping for some kind of acknowlegment or contrition.
Eventually, one of the father’s makes a plea for them to play, and they reluctantly allow him back into their cushy fold.
Moments later, I push them all on tire swing as they try to one up each other with stories of barf, dog poop, and bee stings.
Equilibrium restored. For now.