“Stand still, son,” the man said, while using car keys to etch a horizontal line just above the boy’s curly head. The wooden pillar outside the supermarket entrance revealed a column of yearly battle scars.
“Did I grow, Papa?”
“Yep, an inch.”
“Is that good?”
“Yes!” the boy shouted.
The man eyed the fresh engraving and the dozen marks below.
Long after his son moved away, the man often waited outside the supermarket while his wife finished paying. Unconsciously, he’d rub the groove of his car keys in the front pocket of his jeans.
The pillars were now steel.