EXT. THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL – DAY
ALEX hikes along the trail ahead of MIKE, Alex’s father. Both are wearing backpacks.
The summer your mom was pregnant with you, she was really tired and always sleeping. So Jack and I spent lots of time together. I’d put him on the back of my bike and we’d go to Einstein’s bagels for breakfast. We’d go to the park. We’d go swimming in the pool. We didn’t have any friends because we were in the temporary apartment, so that summer Jack and I got to spend so much time together. It was such a great time.
Just like this right now. Except with you and me.
That’s exactly where I was going. I miss Jack, but we’ve been doing so much fun stuff together.
Mom was pregnant?
(getting lost in the memory)
Your mother was so damn beautiful when she was pregnant.
More beautiful than she is now?
It was so fun being pregnant. I loved when mom was pregnant. You’re just so excited about it…aw, man, I’m getting’ choked up.
I’m starting to cry too.
Alex and I chattered away the whole time, but this moment stands out. Such a mishmash of things were suddenly going through my head. I was remembering how it felt when Shani was pregnant with him. You dream about all the things you’ll do with that kid. How much fun it’ll be to be a dad. I was so excited about it.
And then at the same time here I was in the actual reality of being a dad. Here I was backpacking with my 8-year-old son.
Because for all the dreaming I did about how great it would be to be a dad, it could not touch the liquid sunlight joy of the real thing. Of sitting next to each other on a rock overlooking the Lehigh Valley, sharing a peanut-butter and nutella sandwich and drinking ice-pure water that we’d filled from a spring that morning. Of waking up in the shelter at 1:30 AM and listening to the rain on all the leaves. Hearing the rattle of rain on the roof of the shelter. The small body next to me curled up in the sleeping bag. Magic magic magic.
He got it too. As clear as day he got it and it hit him just as hard. So forgive us both if we got a little emotional.
Here are the photos.
And I know I told you 1 video, but I love ya’, so I’m giving you 2.