Watching The King's Speech outdoors by the Delaware River, I'm huddled knees to chest on a flight of stone steps among friends. The screen ripples slightly in the wind, and the waters beyond are a hypnotic royal blue.
He flops onto the ground and refuses to go further, but with the promise of cookies at the top of the hill he's back on his feet, grudgingly.
To stave off his fit of fussiness and tears I change his position every so often. I stand him up on the kitchen table, so he has a prime view of the backyard and of his older brother's elaborate monologue on war tactics. Then he sits on the table, his fist clutching my index finger. Next he finds himself on a soft chair, standing again on my lap and bouncing slightly to the rhythm of the William Tell Overture. I wonder what he makes of all these shifts in perspective.
On our walk back some blocks are silent and brightly lit. Others rumble with noise and people packed around tables outdoors. The parks are shadowed and secretive. We watch the lights fade out in a church.
We find spiders, red and orange mushrooms, a bed of ferns splashed with sunshine, and trees that have tipped into the embrace of other trees. There are also slabs of rock over a trickling stream and stones set in a shaky stairwell on the hillside.
At the bookstore they fan out, searching for chapter books, picture books, bargain books on military history. Their voices drift from different pockets, across shelves, announcing discoveries and asking others to come look at curious finds.
I'm on the verge of something - I don't know what – but in spite of my fear I'd like to find out.