Chapter One – The Dragon’s Wok
He catches me trying to slip out of the door.
In a game we’ve been playing since his third day home from the hospital, the difference now is he can chase me, albeit with wobbly steps. Like always, he looks up, eyes questioning where and why I’m going. At first, I stopped so he wouldn’t cry, though he had never given me any reason to believe he would. Now, I want to be caught. I want to explain the destination, to promise an early return, to kiss him on his forehead.
We meet halfway in the living room and I scoop him off the carpet.
He leans his padded cheek against my ear as we twirl in front of my mother.
Turning my head, my lips to his ears, I whisper words he has heard many times, a secret I hope he remembers. Before too long, my restless mother asks to hand him over, and I kiss his forehead before holding him out to her arms. I can feel them watching me walk out of the room and the front door.