I lead my husband into the park. The sun is just starting to go down. The light is perfect, soft and rose-gray on the river, brighter in the patch directly above our heads. I pull him under the tree and I ask, Do you know what this is? He looks at me with that combination of amusement and condescension that always makes me want to smack him. It’s a tree, he says, looking up at the leaves forming an umbrella over us. Yes, but just shut up and listen, I tell him, gruffer than I intended. He starts to say something else but I cover his mouth with my hand and will him to be silent.
I stand perfectly still, like that, holding my palm against his lips. When he finally hears them, he nibbles my skin. We look into each other’s eyes as the birds nestled above us all say goodnight to each other at the same time. He looks at me, as surprised as the first time we kissed. I look at him and forgive him.
A stroller squeaks to a stop outside the tent of the tree limbs. A woman brings her hands together, a loud clap, like a shotgun. The birds swarm out, a cloud of black whirling away.
We leave the tree’s protection, hand in hand.
We glare at the young mother. We stare at the fat, happy child, who is screaming his head off, Do it again, Do it again.