Late spring I visit my boy at his Saturday job.
I’ve waited since Christmas for this
moment. Not wanting to cramp his style.
At first he doesn’t notice me, so I can watch
as he serves a customer bread and manages the change.
Clean cut. Confident.
Then when he sees me and we share a secret smile.
I want to vault the counter
to hug him. But I wouldn’t let on. No.
Just two of them are serving
this customer river – a woman and
my son. Yes, he’s my son.
Reaching the service bay I ask the woman
for a bacon sarnie and a cup of tea
and hide surreptitious glances
behind her to where his sixteen-year-old back,
in light grey hoodie, attends now to the dishes,
smoothly stacking the industrial dishwasher.
And, as I sit down, he takes over
frying the bacon and asks quietly from the griddle
‘do you want it crispy?’
‘yes I do, I do, yes,’ I say, losing parent into customer.
And when he brings out the tea
and the crispy bacon which is
delicious, I want to shout to the other customers:
‘Look: my son made this!
my son, my son.’
But instead I munch and watch,
covertly, as his six foot, designer-clothed body
works. Choosing and moving between tasks.
And as he wipes the table beside me
I digest his new face: calm, purposeful.
Then, leaving a tip, I pass slowly
through reverse lettering,
back, onto the busy street
where the last sun rays are slanting towards sunset,
and I find myself unable to
think about the rest of my day