winners on the flip-side

She pushes the cardboard-cutout sunshine to me and says would you like to add two dollars to your bill in support of the Childrens’ Wish Foundation? And I say sure and she hands me a pen to fill in

________________________
GRANTED A WISH TODAY

As all mamas do, I sign Evan & Ben. Then I pause and add & Liam and tilt my head and survey my work like a high schooler scribbling hopeful love matches on my binder, feeling pleased with myself and then fleetingly embarrassed and false and other murky, indefinable things.

Evan & Ben & Liam

I only came here for retail therapy and it's just a piece of cardboard. But out in the world, alone and surrounded by people, we are anonymous. Our sun could be the truth. Nobody out here knows he is gone.

I stare at it and it stares back, stuck up on the wall with all the others, and for a moment I wonder if some kind of magic will go POUF! and in some parallel universe my eldest is at playschool while I browse through the aisles pushing a double stroller.