The boy's life will shudder and heave in a year or two when he becomes a big brother and refuses to speak to his mother for days to punish her betrayal. But all of that sturm und drang is yet to come.
It is the child's third birthday, and his parents have brought cake to share among the boy's classmates. An older mother (her boy is a friend of the birthday boy, and also her youngest child, the youngest of three) offers to snap a few photos of the event. "You will want these later," she says, and her tone is authoritative. The young mother is dismayed. She did not dress for pictures. Her hair has been restyled by a brisk October wind. She keeps forgetting to lose those extra pounds. Mentally she frames her regretful no-thank-you, but the other mother's gaze is fierce and long, and under its sway she can only nod her assent.
A few months later she opens an envelope and finds the photos from her son's birthday. Absently she shuffles through them and puts them aside.
Until that birthday boy is sixteen years old, and most everything has changed, except for the yellows, reds, and oranges of the October trees. The preschool has been razed. The family is now a family of four, not three. It's been a long time since the birthday boy felt as if he were the only sun about which his parents orbited.
As for the photographer's prelude ("You will want these later," a mere five words), years gone by have shaped it into prophecy: truth, guileless as a newborn, in each and every photo.
Small revelations abound.
You will want these later.