We sit side by side on the sidewalk, matching gangly limbs outstretched and glinting with burnished summer hair. I’m showing you the Internet snake who’s terrifying the internet: he knocks on the door and ladles nightmares to millions.
We squint through the late summer sun rays beaming on to my phone. He’s terrifyingly hotdog shaped, this snake, and hideously large and I watch you watching: you have white flecks in your eyes that are the exact colour of a robins egg. You look a bit like me, but more like someone else.
The door to the Jeep is open, wafting lost food fumes and allowing small glimpses of your brother’s damp curls in his car seat, the sleep-flush of his pink cheeks. If we wake him he’ll play the part of a crotchety 76 year old mental patient and so we sit quietly on the sidewalk and wait.
There’s a breeze and a man in an orange vest spraying down the new parking lot next to us. There’s sun beating down on my head and a varicose vein in my leg that’s brand new. You have dirt on your toes and I smell like sweat and we hang our heads to shade the iPhone, to watch the snake.
“The spider down my shirt was orange,” you say, “He just went down there when you were working out.” I look at you wide-eyed.
“I don’t know what would be scarier to have down your shirt,”I say,”A spider or a giant large snake.”
“Mom.” It’s already there, that slight air of mocking disdain in your voice,”A snake can’t get down your shirt very easily.”
A white truck pulls up in view to the left and I stand up and brush off the pebbles that have nestled into the flesh under my shorts.
“He’s here,” you say.
“He is,” I say, “Can I have a hug and a kiss?”
You reach up and I bend down and I smell salon shampoo and little boy grit and you bound over to the truck, all brawny skin and hope and late summer joy. I watch your head in the passenger seat, still small, until you round the corner, outside the parking lot, to your other life.