Sometimes before Fable and Hal are home from school, Archer and I go on walks together and it feels like it's just the two of us. The babies are in the stroller and he's next to me with his hand against my hand and we're talking. And everything is happening around us and there are sirens and joggers and people running stop signs and we don't hear any of it.


The other night while watching the Oscars Archer asked us to pause it on "that movie right there". It was Amour.

"THAT movie should win, guys. I'm rooting for Amour."

"Why Amour?"

"I don't know. It looks interesting. Can we rent it?"

"It has subtitles. You would have to read the screen."

"Mom, I can read screens."

"It's about death."

"That's okay."

"It's not for children. You'll have to be a little older. There are things that happen that I don't want you to see quite yet."

"What do you mean? Why?"

We talk about death a lot in our house. It's a subject I've never shied away from because it is the only thing nobody has the answer to. And that fascinates me. And it fascinates Archer, too. And I assumed his interest in Amour had everything to do with his interest in death and wanting to understand what that looks like in some cases.


We walk past our old house on our old street where the beautiful Spanish ranch with the vines once lived. Someone bought the house across the street and knocked it down earlier last week to build a bigger newer house and Archer and I talk about what it means to get old and how hard it sucks that people are so quick to dismiss history and the integrity of architectural gems and humans at the end of their journey. We stare at the gaping hole on our former street and shake our heads.

"It was such a beautiful house."

"I know," he says and we keep walking.

He takes the stroller from my hands and pushes it through the back streets and onto Fairfax.

"I got this, Mom."

"Are you sure?"

"Excuse us," he says as crowds of skateboarders part. As we push through Marijuana smoke and wade through loose newspaper. Archer weaves around five dollar racks and men in suits, and teenage girls in neon sideways hats, turns the stroller and backs his sisters into Canter's bakery.
We order six cookies and the man behind the counter doesn't let us pay.

"This one's on me," he says. "Have a great day."

Archer can't believe it. His eyes sparkle when he looks back at me with the cookies in his hands and on our way out the door, he pulls two of them out of the bag.

"Revi, this one's for you, honey. And here, Bo. This is yours."
"What about you, Arch? Don't you want a cookie?"

"Oh, yeah. I forgot."


Later that evening, in the bathtub, Archer will bring up Amour again.

He will fill the giant yellow cup with water as Fable bends her head back.

"Do you remember how in those scenes from Amour the man was feeding the woman and helping her drink her water?"

"I do."

"That was cool. I liked that part."

And I will suddenly understand why he wants to see the movie so badly and I won't know how I missed it until now.

I'll watch him pour water over his sister's hair and I'll recognize where his interest has suddenly come from. The clips he saw during the Oscars were of a man who was also a caretaker -- a role seldom explored in the films he's seen and the stories that surround him.
And much like it is on our walks, the room will quiet, the splashing and the screaming and the cups being flung into my face by tiny hands - and all I will hear are those seven little words, softer than a whisper, harder than a squeeze.

That was cool. I liked that part.