This week’s word: Toad
She remembers like it was yesterday, her tow-headed son with his long body and short legs trying to catch the toad in the back yard. He would watch the toad gather its bulbous weight and hop, landing with a slurpy sound in the newly watered lawn. Cody would giggle, and follow behind it on his chubby little legs. He’d bend down to grab it around its warty middle and just as his hands moved the air around the fat toad, it would leap away and leave Cody’s hands empty.Cody was dedicated, though, and churned away to the toad’s new resting place. He’d bend down to grab the prize, which, time after time, jumped safely out of reach. She has nearly an hour of shaky, 8mm video of the tenacious attempts to seize the prize he so wanted to keep for a pet. But the frog would have none of it and eventually jumped beneath the bushes at the end of our yard and we never saw it again.
Cody didn’t cry, just sort of shrugged it off and said, “huh”, and toddled off to find some new and interesting adventure to pursue.She always admired that about him, his dedication to whatever he put his mind to coupled with a flexibility that made him both focused and creative as well as greatly admired. It’s hard to imagine those qualities now that he is mostly alive only in her memory. A thousand miles away in a cage of his own.
The letters are few and far between now, and the visits less than satisfactory as she sees his spirit hunched down like a toad in the box he is forced to live in now, wishing for the freedom of wet lawn and summer evenings in the back yard.