He can’t be more than three. Tiny, a head full of dark curls, chocolate eyes that take up half his face. I hear his mother calling for him. I should tell her he’s here. I will in a sec. I will. He smiles as he clasps a necklace of faux pearls in his hands, crashing them against each other, laughing at the terrific sound they make. His mother calls again. We smile at each other. We have a secret.
His mother’s voice gets closer. She’s one row over. I pretend to be entranced by a gaudy, sparkly necklace I would never wear. She passes me, barely giving me a glance. He refuses to leave. She scoops him up and he screams, but only for a few seconds. I’m forgotten.
The dull ache in my middle returns. How old would he be? Was he a he?
I put the ugly necklace back, trying to remember my reason for coming here. I throw items in my basket, checking things off my mental list like a drone. Toothpaste. Thermometer. Tylenol. Tampons. I wait in line, watching mommies and daddies come and go.
Squaring my shoulders, I smile at the cashier. This month will be the one. I can feel it.