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Paxton is your baby boy, born just after you got out of the army, your peacetime child. He turned six last month but already he’s got a sweetheart who lives next door. He makes her crowns out of dandelions and shares his FruitBlaster cups with her. She brings him marbles that hum and lets him position her antennae into funny shapes. He has a lisp that the speech therapist has given up on, and she has clicking mandibles, but in their invented language of coos and giggles they are both poets. They sit out in the yard and very seriously lay grass on each other’s arms, and the sunlight cocoons them.
You and Denise watch them through the kitchen window. Denise is an old army buddy and she gets it. All of it.
You say something like, No surprise he’s got a sweetheart already. Just look at his daddy.
Denise laughs rough and loud. Regular little Casanova, isn’t he? Regular little intergalactic Casanova. Damn. And I can’t even get a date.