Into the gap

I watch an old woman walking with a stick

The boy at her side is maybe six

He is at school now

Or would be if they weren’t on an extended holiday courtesy of Covid

I’ve seen this pair before

Many times

Watched the old woman walk him when he was maybe four, a tiny toddler at her side and before even that

As a baby in a pram

Is she his gran?

I always wondered as I’ve never seen him with a mother

And there is this divide in ages that my mind falls into when I think of them together

He is a busy child, fast as any other, his quick brain and nimble body skipping far ahead of her older bowed legs

Yet he waits, she catches up, they talk and then he is gone

Run, stop, wait

He’ll be doing that his whole life and yet I see his respect, his love and I imagine (as we writers do) his gratitude

For without her, he would have no one

I think of all the kids who slip through gaps in generations

Not born to their grandparents but taken in by them

For whatever reason

And I wonder what they do with that gap inside them those kids

Does the gap leave a space or is it adequately filled ?

Do they feel the years that are surely missed in between the generation they were born into, the wide gulf?

It seems to me that no void stays empty

Weeds grow in the dirt through the cracked concrete path, flowers too

And sunlight streams through spaces in clouds

Illuminating the views

No matter the circumstances

These two have made it work for them

I wonder how long I will watch them grow together as I drive along this road, thinking of all manner of things and people I have watched come to pass

And sometimes life feels very fast

And sometimes very, very slow

Like that little boy

Run stop wait

And at the moment I’m running

So off I go

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