BEHNKE’S MALL THIRD PERSON PLURAL
I entered the mall and there they were, Mother standing behind the pram. Happy. Proud.
I knew they couldn't have just appeared there.
She had to have buckled him into the safety seat, then, driven, parked,
Taken out the stroller, unfolded it, freed him from the straps,
Bundled him into the pram, and pushed him inside.
But I saw her only as they must have just arrived.
I sensed the tiniest hesitation, doubt even.
I remember the baby and the stroller, and the poignant uncertainty.
I remember my heart in a twist.
I don't remember the day or month it happened, even the season, but I do remember she wore a coat.
Maybe a London Fog, maybe not.
We were tangential acquaintances.
I knew her casually, an officemate for a couple of years, actually.
She, an enabler of my boss, he a tyrant, who didn't really need enabling.
I held no grudges. I said the right things, but all babies look alike to me.
Later when they lock onto your eyes, I am unfailingly smitten.
It’s frightening how much you can see in a two-second glance:
Strength, weakness, pride, uncertainty in compound balance.
I couldn't see the stubborn tenacity that I would, in future so admire,
But like the hidden mass of an iceberg it kept her on course,
Stable in foreign territory, till the congratulatory masses arrived.