After spending such a long time away from my family, I garnered enough money for a flight to go to ____ to visit a cousin living and attending college. I slept on their couch, high enough so that a little boy that looked like him couldn’t reach me, as much as he wanted to.
“Rough year?” He asks me in private, when a little boy and his wife aren’t around.
“You could say that. It’s getting better.”
“You do realize that you’re in better shape than I was at your age. Getting the strength to leave and do something nobody ever expected of you. We all know and love you. We all know that you need time to be away and discover the world – your world. I’m ___ years old and I found myself when I met my wife. Hopefully it won’t take you that long.”
“Yeah, I’m still looking.”
“Keep looking, don’t stop. Keep dreaming, don’t stop. Keep smiling, don’t stop. Don’t let them force you to show weakness, you’re so much stronger and better than that.”
I held his little boy in my lap. Listening to his breath, watching his face twist from a cry, to a confused, wondrous look, then sheer happiness. Who could not grow up after meeting him?