The knee-high boy toddles down the quiet road, pulled forward by his own stumbling momentum. He is a splash of color against a grey day, like a cardinal, in his bright red sweatshirt. It drapes from his little body and hangs beyond his finger-tips; a hand-me-down still two sizes too big and too nice not to wear.
I capture the Red Flash and roll up his sleeves, one by one, while he loudly protests, obviously aware of the social distancing imperative. He wriggles free and stops a few steps ahead of me to bend down and pat the asphalt road with both hands. Finding it hard, unmoving and unmovable, he pops back up, pushing off of the ground from the tripod position.
We walk side by side for a few steps.
“Do you want to hold Mama’s hand?” I ask in third person and offer my hand.
He shakes his head back and forth fast enough to give flight to the shaggy mop of his hair, it takes on a life of its own, a light brown feathered being, with spread wings. The creature settles back into place and the boy zooms ahead a few tiny steps and looks back with a laugh and stumbles.
Of course, I am behind him where I will always be ready if he falls to scoop him up and dust off his bottom and set him right back up to do it all over again.
COVID-19 is not slowing us down today.