Posted by: alegra22 | May 19, 2011

Sol in love.

Sol has fallen in love. It is not at all what I expected.  It isn’t Sol’s nature to flirt. He is still attempting to master the art of making a joke, of deciphering the differences between a taunt, a menace, and an inclusive smile when the smile is accompanied by a punchline. I didn’t expect him to notice girls but I expected girls to notice him. I was prepared for the possibility that Sol would awkwardly try on the behavior of his peers: ill-fitting declarations of marriage, who loves who, the threat of  holding hands – all bunching up around his elbows and knees, hanging from his shoulders like a sad clown stuck in the clothes of a giant.

What I didn’t expect was to see signs of the man he will become so soon.

There has been a slow tide of tenderness moving across my son, transforming his face when he talks about the little girl I will call ‘Owl’. He has slipped into these feelings slowly, cautiously, and they fit him as if tailor made. Sometimes, when he talks about Owl, I see that he is a stranger to himself, but not an unwelcomed one. He is like a person who has caught a glimpse of what he will become and discovered that it is good. In fact, he is destined to be more than just good, but he doesn’t know how he managed to get from here to there, so he moves cautiously and observes, studies, absorbs.

The first time he introduced the topic, he paced and gestured in the air, his eyes fixed on the image he hoped to translate to me about this new friend who is special. “Owl,” he told me, “is very little and very sick. Her stomach can’t use food, so she can’t eat a lot and grow.” He stopped and pointed at Joaquin, “She is only as big as Joaquin and she is five years old. She is very, very tiny and we have to be very careful with her.”

He began to talk about Owl more and more, always with a protectiveness in his voice that made me both proud and sad. Proud to see so much of his father in him, sad because I wished he could show some of that same kindness toward Zaviera. He started to talk about making her gifts. He contemplated what he would get her for her birthday. “She likes My Little Pony,” he said. “I will get her that and it will make her happy.”

Recently, while making dinner together, Dan said in a low voice, “Did Sol tell you his news? He’s marrying Owl. She asked him to marry her.”

I call Sol out into the kitchen. He blushes and then explains as if the situation is all very logical and he has put much time into thinking it through, “Yes, she likes me and I like her. But she didn’t ask me – she told me. She did this,” he stands and points at me and smiles, “She said, ‘I want to marry you.” He drops his hand and stands in front of me, a different boy than he was before Owl. “I said yes because we like each other and she doesn’t want to marry anyone but me.” He went back out into the living room as if nothing more needed to be said. Dan and I grinned at one another foolishly.

Last night, we cuddled up on the couch, watching Tangled. The lights were off in the house, the blankets piled high around us, the heater on. Zaviera whispered to Sol, “This is where the magic is inside of her Sol, remember? It was inside of her!” Sol is mesmerized as Rapunzel holds Eugene and they declare they were one another’s new dream. 

Sol is holding Ginger-Crumpet-Leopard in his lap, petting him/her gently. “Mommy,” he says, “I’m crying. I’m sad.”  It is both a question and a discovery.

Dan and I look at one another. “It’s okay, sweetheart, we are, too.”

“You and Daddy are crying, too?”

“Yes,” I say. “We are crying, too. It is sad to love someone so much and to lose them.”

“Okay,” he says, reassured.

I am aware that we’ve just witnessed one of those moments, a revealing of the man he will become. He has just fallen into a moment of empathy and a different kind of loss.

 I think about what waits for him as he continues to love his little Owl, the very sick girl who is so fragile and tiny in this world. I don’t worry, I just hold the future carefully in my heart.



  1. Oh my, I want to cry and my heart feels like it grew a size reading this.

  2. That boy is amazing.

  3. Lovely, simply lovely.

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