I met him in the driveway, "Guess who is here?"
I paused letting BC roll the question over before telling him,
"Beach. She stayed home from Gym." I announced her presence like royalty.
"What?! But how did that happen?!" BC asked. He turned to the man who was there answering an ad about cedar for sale. He had paused his digging through the lumber pile on BC's trailer to watch us. "My kid is a gymnast," BC told him, "she is never [sic] not at Gym."
"She had a headache and a sore neck today. So after lunch, I gave her some ibuprofen and she fell asleep upstairs listening to stories. I decided not to wake her and I called her in sick. She's already forgiven me... if we can go get pumpkins."
Beach popped out the door a few minutes later still looking sleepy, thin, and a bit on the droopy side. The man looked up. He watched her make her way around the piles of stacked boards to scoop up a delicate napping cat.
"She's just little," he muttered sounding a bit surprised. I could almost hear the harshness of what his original picture of her had been.
"Yeah, she is...." her parents answered in tandem.
She is still very little.
But the days are growing shorter.