If you wake at two-in-the-morning, crying, that’s fine. If, because it’s two-in-the-morning, it takes me a while to dredge myself from beneath the covers, and you start wailing to get my attention, well. That’s okay, too. Do whatcha gotta do.
By now I’m on my feet, annoyed and most likely rolling my eyes. I’ve cleaned everything. I’m sure of it; I was there. Yet there they are: the knife, the spatula, and the saucepan lid. Did you know that spatulas can laugh?
…I looked back and saw Ian slowly walk from the playground to sit at the foot of the tree, hands in his lap. Ian rarely sits, and he never does anything slowly. My heart fell. …I’d gone to the playground to play with my son, and here I was, playing with other men’s sons.
When we walked into Ian’s room on Saturday night, his light was on but he was off. Way off. People talk about sleeping like the dead, but these people never had children.
It hasn’t gotten any easier to be away from my family during the day, but pictures, cards, and scribbly, scrawly drawings help to keep Ian at the forefront of my mind.
But I was too late, too slow. Ian’s face is flushed, heat coming in waves from his skin, and he’s not breathing.
Somewhere there is a picture of me and my step-father, crawling along the floor and wearing underwear on our heads. We were diving for sharks.
Certainly there are some parents reading this who find themselves appalled. Revenge? On your child? Surely not.