She leaves the ice cream shop early and drives to the school at the designated time, with her white shirt and black jeans still reeking of sugar and cream. Picking up their son isn’t usually her job, but right now all the jobs are hers.
She speeds, just a little, on the empty straightaway past the hillside pasture where red cows graze behind a tumbled-down stone wall, topped with rusted barbed wire strung haphazardly from crooked posts. Calves, she thinks. He will want to see the babies.
She won’t arrive early but she won’t be late, either. She must be on time.
Their boy sits alone on a gray wooden bench outside the brick-faced primary wing, his battered red backpack next to him. For just a moment, she watches him swinging his feet and eyeing the other second-graders who swirl in bright clusters behind the schoolyard’s chain-link fence.
She angles the car into a space and steps out to open the curbside rear door. He runs to her, bumping his pack against her hip as he slings it into the back seat. He scrambles in and sits in the middle. When she climbs behind the wheel, their eyes connect in the rear-view mirror and she smiles…
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