I left at 1:50pm to pick Koala up from gan, which ended at two.
Only by the time I had parked across from the gan’s front yard, and noticed the street was lacking other parked cars, and the yard was lacking children and laughter, I knew something wasn’t right.
And it was Koala’s face. Buried in the shoulder of the saya’at, eyes faintly red, the saddest frown I’d ever seen in my whole life. Staring out absently into the street.
I had done it. His first week of ‘big gan.’
I scooped him up when I got to the gate and I could feel his whole body lean into mine. It was clarified for me then that gan had ended thirty minutes before.
“Everybody went home,” he whispered to me.
“I know, I’m so sorry… I’m so sorry…”
“Why did you leave me?”
I’ll never forget his face. A little three year-old with his whole world come apart.
I’m not really sure how, but after we got in the car and started going, the topic changed to spaceships. “What’s that?” he asked.
“It’s an airplane that goes… higher than the sky… so high, it’s not blue anymore – it’s black!”
“That’s my favorite color!” Koala was ecstatic.
We got home, and I drew a picture of outer space.
Then we watched space shuttle lift-offs on YouTube, counting from ten, and drank juice.