It is the last day of summer school. He is taking history to get ahead in his junior year. As soon as I wake, he asks me to re-pin the pant legs of his father’s suit. When I am finished, he paces in front of the mirror, back straight. On a normal day, I am sure he never looks into the mirror.
“In the Chinese Army, they used to put pins in the soldier’s collars so they would stand tall,” he informs me.
“That wouldn’t be very comfortable for you.” He has a congenital curvature in his spine that causes him to slouch.
He tries putting his speech notes into the outer pocket of the jacket, wondering aloud why it isn’t a real pocket. I show him the inner breast pocket.
On the way to school, I notice his cheeks, normally a little scruffy even on the days he runs a razor over them, are cleanly shaven. Cued as we pass the vet’s office, he reminds me his cat needs her shots and that she needs more litter. I think about the kind of father he might someday be.
He is still talking as we wait at the last light before I drop him off, regaling me with hockey stats and strategizing about his fantasy hockey line-up. He plans to take his driving test after summer school, and I know to savor every word. He is my youngest, and my days as Taxi Mom are numbered.
“Your group presents first?”
“So in about an hour, you can relax.”
“Yeah, it’s almost over.”
I watch him cross the street in the rear view mirror. He stands tall, gliding across the street in his father’s shoes, while I wait for the tears to subside.
Sharyl Collin practices writing, photography and music. She didn’t realize she was a poet until surprised by the birth of her first poem at the age of 50. She has since completed two chapbooks and a full length collection, Learning to Peel Neapolitan. Her poems have appeared The Intentional, Mason’s Road Literary Journal, *82 Review, Wild Goose Poetry Review, and Lummox.