Would.

She would take him to walk the beach.

He would wear a long-sleeved striped shirt, and she would don a pink coat with hood; mom and boy a picture on the seashore.

Would she ever think about leaving him on the beach, alone, to fend for himself; a neo-Spartan infant fighting for survival against wolves and winter, but on Oregon beach and seagulls?

The waves would lap close to their ankles, and Jamey would squeal in terror, and were Mom to have run away, would he have perished in the slight water, alone? He would; he would; he would certainly have laid down and let the tide carry him, in a glorious Viking burial ceremony, at two years old, and still alive while the sea carried him to grave.

Would that have been a sad history; yes, were it to have happened, but it did not, because Mom knew what the world would miss, and it was him, it would have been him. I would have it not otherwise.