“How do you call ‘stav” in English, again, mommy?” he asks, as we make our way up the hill.
“Fall,” the bigger one says quickly.
“Or Autumn,” I say.
“Autumn,” he repeats. “Right.”
“Autumn is the fancier version,” says the bigger one.
“Yes, there’s something delicate about the word, Autumn,” I say.
Also, something composed and at ease, I think, and an ache passes through me. I decide to share it.
“You know,” I say, “sometimes you use the word ‘autumn’ when describing a time of your life. As in, ‘the autumn of her life.’ Spring is the beginning. Summer, the season of joy and play. Then Autumn. I think I might be approaching Autumn.”
“No, mom,” says the bigger one. “You’re still in Summer.”
“Really?” I ask. And I mean it.
Tell me, I want to say to him. Tell me how I’m still in Summer.
And he does, without my asking.
“You’re still healthy. You’re still young.” His brother nods.
I don’t correct them. Not out loud. I yearn to, though. To warn them. To make them see.
“You’re definitely not in Autumn yet,” he continues. “Autumn is like 50. At least 50.”
Later, we see an old man cautiously taking on a series of stone steps. He approaches each rise from the right, first with the rubber bottom of his cane; then lifting one leg; then the second.
As we pass this man on the stairs — we going down — I understand that if asked, this man might place me at the crossroads where Spring meets Summer. And I could see how he could see me there. How he’d laugh at me if I asked him “which season,” and respond with something like “youth is wasted on the young.”
My young one looks at me and says in a whisper, “That man is in Winter.” And then louder asks, “What season am I, mommy?”
I look at him and I laugh.