He huddles in the closet, hands clamped over his mouth to muffle the giggles which threaten to spill out. She is coming. He hears her footsteps on the wood stairs.

“Alexander Samuel Ramsey!” she calls out. He heard her opening and shutting the hall closet. “Nope, not in there. Alex! I’m coming to find you, ready or not!”

He relaxes a little as he hears her move in the opposite direction. His fingers grip the flashlight she had given him just moments before. He switches it on and swings the light in the small space. He sees his initials “A.S.R” and reached out to touch the raised letters. He pokes at them, and then grabs the item. It is a backpack. But what is it doing in his mother’s closet?

He hears something then, and looks up in shock when the closet door opened. “Oh, Alex,” his mother says, her eyes sad. “I was hoping you weren’t in here. You found it.”

“It’s mine, right?” He asks, hugging the bag to his chest.

“Of course it is,” she says. “Look, it even has your initials on it. I was saving it for your birthday. But you found it.” She gets on her hands and knees and starts tickling him. “You little stinker.” He shrieks with laughter.


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