Across the table

by little red pen

My son is sitting opposite me in my favourite café, a pencil clenched between his teeth. We caught the bus down the valley, walked in the fresh winter sun to this warm and open space. And now we’re having a mother-son writing date, our papers spread before us, drinks to hand. We’ve got pencils and light and each other, a shared commitment to words too. The Cat is in good form — his eyes are shining, his face has a gentle curve to it, he’s thoughtful and calm. I can’t think of a better companion for this moment.

We went ice-skating with his school last night, and I tried my skates again after about ten years off them. I’ve forgotten a lot, but it still feels right to be on the ice, the sway and flick of it, the leap of speed when I get a little space in front of me. The Cat clung to the wall at first, then I came back to the rink after a break and he was moving freely, not particularly smooth, not stable either, but happy and confident and letting the skates guide him along.

So it’s a weekend of rediscovered and newly shared loves, and of watching my boy grow into himself. We didn’t manage much writing in the end — half a sentence for him, a draft of this post for me — but we didn’t really need much more. It was enough to be writing companions for a time, to batt words gently back and forth across the table. Enough to take us back to the companionship we often had when he was little, a quiet solidarity together in a busy world.