He thumps down the stairs, every ounce of his seventy-five pounds working the steps, and pirouettes into the kitchen. Pirouettes. Really, like a grubby boy-ballerina, followed by a sock-footed slide over to the fridge. Open the door and stand there, bopping and snapping fingers, reach in, find apple, hip-check the door closed.

No audience that he knows of. Not a performance. Just joy, pure and simple.

Away he goes, back up the stairs to listen to iPod stories in his room. The other boys are in their spaces. The reading boy, reading. The guitar-playing boy, playing. It’s an afternoon like a million afternoons, and I feel like I could stay here, perfectly happy, forever.


Joy. Pure and simple.