Originally published on October 30, 2014
We left for soccer last evening to a thunderclap, but instead of rain, the skies opened into long streaks of late afternoon sun. Beneath that fading glow, the Falcons raced up and down the field against the Pink Ninjas, the ball disappearing into thick knots of five-year-olds before shooting out again: sideline cheers, hard collisions, a call for “subs,” the glory of a goal.
On the sidelines, Wally raced around. From my position on the field—whistle poised, timer running—I caught glimpses of him, fast by Grandpa’s side, then raising a new, discovered treasure from the earth.
After the game, a few kids continued on, chasing each other and a soccer ball around the vast plain of the old, converted airfield. Wally chased the soccer ball, too, though he never got it. Finally I caught up to him, at rest with two older kids.
“We carved our pumpkin today,” Wally said. “We gave it a silly face.”
“We’re not talking about pumpkins right now,” one of the older kids replied.
Wally chewed on that for a moment, then switched gears. “Poooopy diaper,” he crowed, hoping to gain a little social traction with his potty talk charade.
The older kids laughed. I looked at Wally, his narrow shoulders cocked in the silver light, his head thrown back in laughter, a fire roaring into the night.