Into his backpack went his cumulative work journal and his set of emergency clothes. We took his picture off the wall and put that into his backpack as well. I helped him put the backpack on.
He tried to give me his string of extra-large pop beads, his favorite toy at school. I told him he could keep them. He looked at me quizzically and went to put them in his cubby. “Wook!” He exclaimed pointing at the empty shelf. “Aww gone!”
I agreed with him but didn’t try to explain again. “Let’s go for a walk,” I said and held out my hand. His little brown fingers curled around mine. “Waag,” he said. “Go for waag.”
We left the classroom and walked across campus hand-in-hand. As usual he chattered away. Most of his discourse was bits of song. We got to the office and I reached for the door. “Obbus,” he said.
“Mom’s here,” I told him.
“Mob?” A smile lit his face.
Once inside his hand passed from mine to hers. I knelt in front of him and said good bye. Just like every afternoon before leaving, he gave me a hug.
I hugged him back — maybe just a little too long and a little too tight. He wiggled away.
“Bye,” he said. “See ‘ou tamarbo.” And he left me there with tears in my eyes.