In the Beginning

by Tom Swift

On that walk this morning … we heard a baby crying.

It was still dark. No sound but the crying. Sounded like the baby was alone.

The crying came from the direction of some shrubs along the tree-lined street. The street was north-south. We were going east-west.

Then, as if fabricated from the shadows, a boy — not a baby but a very young boy — appeared. He held the hand of a woman. They walked together, slowly, on the sidewalk.

I assumed the woman was the boy’s mother. But as the pair moved in our direction I surmised that this woman was too old to be the mother of a boy so young. Grandmother, perhaps.

Almost as soon as we could see the boy the boy fell face-first into the sidewalk. He tipped straight over — straight-legged, one line, down, flat.

There was no doubt about where the crying was coming from, just then.

The woman picked up the boy and went inside a house feet from where the boy fell. The two of them sat on a couch near the window in the only lit room in the house. I did not have to strain to glimpse them as we walked by the house. The boy sat on the woman’s thigh. He no longer cried.

As soon as we are alive, we cry. If we don’t cry spontaneously, our cries are induced.

Then a woman holds us close. Until we no longer cry.