It's one of the little pieces of the past still scattered around my house that I can't bring myself to get rid of.
I found it years ago, tucked in a side pocket. I remember when it was purchased. It was part of a set I bought at a chess tournament in which Trevor was competing. At the time Evan was a baby in a stroller. How many chess tournaments I dragged him and his sister to! We would hang out in hotel lobbies or malls or libraries while Trevor played, and I would do my best to occupy the non-chess players for the day. I don't know what happened to the rest of this set, but somewhere along the way this lone guy ended up in my suitcase. For years now that's where he has remained, a symbol of a time long past. He has gone on lots of trips with me over the years. I forget about him between trips, but when I go to pack I reach into the pocket and there he still is, and somehow there is comfort in his being, and remaining, there. I think he may stay there always, and some day accompany me when I pay a visit to Evan and his wife and children.
But for now, like the author of "The Last One," I will treasure these days of still having a boy who, even in his ten-year-old bigness, wants to crawl up on my lap, put his arms around my neck, lay his head on my shoulder, and whisper in my ear, "I love you so much, Mom." He's not quite grown up yet, Mr. Pirate Man. And somewhere inside him there will always be that little boy who repeatedly dropped you from his stroller and reached his arms up to me, begging to be lifted out. Together, we'll hold on to the memory.