With his arms around my neck, I feel his body tense, pulling me into a vise grip. I can hear his breathing quicken, then stop. In the pitch black of the room, I know he is having a seizure; I don’t have to shine the tiny flashlight onto his face to know that his skin has blanched, his eyes have become vacant saucers. Although I am exhausted, I'm glad that I got into bed with him an hour earlier when he was fussing.

Michael comes to Calvin’s bedside, closely followed by our dog Nellie. I tell her to sit then to stay. Michael asks me why. “I want her to know it, to smell it.”

I run downstairs and bring back the vial of cannabis oil. I draw the liquid gold into the dropper, part Calvin’s lips then squeeze a dozen or more drops inside his cheek. Some of it runs out of the corner of his mouth, so I wipe up what I can and rub the funky oil into his gums with my finger.

Once the seizure is over, I crawl back in next to my boy and adjust the comforter around us both. I hear the clock strike once. It is 4:30 a.m. I hear him suck and gulp, hear his insides gurgle and squeak, feel him shudder and twitch in the seizure’s wake. He’s curled up next to me in the fetal position like he was when I first felt his quickening. Just like he did when he was a baby and a toddler, back when he was calm enough to nap with, his warm toes push into my belly. We are connected.

In the silence, I hear cars splash past on the wet street. Nellie preens herself in the room next door. The clock ticks off the seconds. I wait to hear caws from the murder of crows outside my boy’s window, but today there are none. Lying on my side, my arm draped over Calvin's thigh, I feel my heart quickening with each breath, and I wonder if things will ever loosen up, if my nerves will unwind, if our manic child will ever mellow out, if his seizures will abate, if I'll ever get a decent night's sleep, one in which I won't have to strain to hear my boy's breath quickening before it stops.

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