the accident of birth

Fire in the stove, music on the stereo, lights turned low, two ice cubes and a Sunday bourbon in my glass. While chopping up chicken thighs I arrange thoughts for Monday’s blog post in my head:

the accident of birth, our wise senator once said. so very fortunate. what a sweet boy we have. we made a good person. damned shutdown. don’t they care about anyone but themselves? shameful ruse. massive egos. greed. so many poor and suffering. why can’t we all just take care of each other? what’s the big deal? the accident of birth. so many cold and hungry at the whim of the powerful, wealthy and corrupt. cowards. puppets. our handsome boy. how i worry so. i feel it coming. dark circles under his eyes today. yet so very fortunate.

Not yet five o’clock and Michael calls from the top of the stairs, “Christy!” and I know it is another seizure in the bath. I leap up the flight to see him cradling our boy’s head in the tub, Calvin’s face beet red with the look of terror or surprise. Michael grabs Calvin under his armpits. I wrap mine around his knees and they buckle and knock like a couple of crooked boughs. Lifting his naked body from the basin, water cascades down his limbs, and we rush him to our bedroom, bathwater dripping in our wake. On the way I grab Calvin’s towel from the back of his door and spread it out on our bed. His face is sallow, crimson and steel. Slick locks of hair drape like kelp across his forehead. With eyes wide open and fixed he is breathless and I kiss his neck hoping I can snap him out of the seizure’s grip.

It’s day eleven. Calvin has had nearly half that number of seizures within a month. I wonder if at some point they’ll burn out of control into scores. I think about the children whose parents must choose between seizure medication and food. I think about those who go bankrupt because of epilepsy, because of illness. I think about some of those in power who haven’t the faintest idea what it is to be in fear of losing a job, a house, an entire life-savings, then of those living paycheck to paycheck: good people, honest people, hard working people, loving, compassionate, generous people.

The accident of birth: it’s in great part why I have what I have, why we have what we have. It’s why Calvin has what he has: the dark circles under his eyes, the seizures, the meds. Why can’t we all just take care of each other? What do they fear? Trading empathy for greed. Why such contempt? Do they deem some children deserving and others not? Woe, the accident of birth.

1 comment:

  1. these are my same thoughts every day of the week....especially when I hear some of the mean, selfish thoughts being expressed during this political war in Congress....but also in simple, casual conversation with people. Does self-interest have to be the be-all and end-all of life? I hope not!!!!