Charlie had a really hard time of it while I was in California. Most of the floorspace of the lower floor of our house was covered in plastic kitchenware, books, or a combination of bike helmets and coins and papers after Sunday night's storm. Jim had exerted the usual superhuman effort to keep Charlie together but I guess we aren't the 'tight team o' three' for nothing: It doesn't work so well when the team is down one member.
A somber boy got off the bus at 4pm and looked at me and said 'hi,' then went inside. I hadn't yet picked up all the books on the living floor. 'Clean up' said Charlie, looking at me.
The somberness lasted for most of the rest of the day and became crying on a walk and more crying after Charlie went up to bed. He had his iPad but had left his other items -- five certain articles of clothing each with symbolic associations of Jim, me and the ocean and a plastic Walkman -- on the floor of the living room. I brought these up and put them in a vaguely geometric configuration on Charlie's bed. Jim came upstairs to give Charlie a goodnight kiss.
I sat in the big brown chair at the base of the stairs and starting writing on my phone because Charlie hears the clicks of me typing on my laptop and more quiet was in order. We heard Charlie get up and take a shower and then, a happier sound, a certain string of five notes.
The iPad sounded with the six Disney songs Charlie has been listening and listening to and we could tell he was asleep by the final one, 'When You Wish Upon a Star.'