The look on his young face was strange, knowing. Bob took it in, seeing his son understand goodbye in its proper context for the first time.
Together, they grabbed at the suitcase handle and dragged it across the entry. One plastic wheel found the wet soil of the flower bed, and they tugged to break it free. Freshly watered grass sparkled in the morning sun. They traveled across it barefoot to find the back of the car. As Mom guided the dog to the rear seat, Bob and his son fiddled with the insects crawling in the bone dry gutter. The record breaking heat was already warming the concrete.
“Guh!” his son said, pointing.
“That’s right, pill bug. See how it rolls up when you poke at it?”
“Guh,” he said again.
“That’s right, ant. That’s a little one, isn’t it?”
The trunk popped and they heaved the bag into the opening. His son made a timid motion for a high five. They, as well as smiles, were exchanged.
“Do you want a goodbye kiss?” Bob asked.
His son immediately leaned forward, on the edge of falling completely. Bob smiled and landed three quick ones in the center of his forehead. He loaded the child into the car seat, hugged his wife with a brief update on the week’s plans, and saw them off from the driveway.
He never saw them again.