★★★★ The air was moving, a little, but the midmorning was already getting hot. The two-year-old, wearing his sunglasses and riding on shoulders, waved to a truck driver, and the truck driver waved back through the open window. The playground fountain arced and splatted onto the tinted-concrete United States map. A toddler being smeared with sunscreen got its hands on the tube and flung it away across the blacktop. The shade was abundant and comfortable. Helicopters purred somewhere out of sight beyond the leaves. The two-year-old sat on the pebbly concrete at the foot of the tall chain-link fence and ate a lollipop, while a stranger toddler crouched beside him and wept with envy. Two little girls in bright, immaculate sundresses and sun hats drifted closer and closer to the fountain, till their adult supervisors had to spirit them off the playground entirely. The two-year-old peeled off his shoes and socks, contemplated the fountain, then walked a little ways into it. The spray was cold. He walked back out, with tiny bright droplets clinging to his hair and dark flecks of dirt clinging to his feet. The sky got whiter, with more glare. The two-year-old came out of his nap and lay on the floor till the air conditioner was turned on to revive him. A late hot breeze made the hot dog and pretzel umbrellas on Broadway ripple.
Tuesday, May 27th, 2014
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