moon river

Moon river, wider than a mile
I'm crossing you in style some day
Oh, dream maker, you heart breaker
Wherever you're goin', I'm goin' your way

Two drifters, off to see the world
There's such a lot of world to see
We're after the same rainbow's end, waitin' 'round the bend
My huckleberry friend, moon river, and me

As the moon floated in a dark pool of sky, day ten dipped into the twenties. Frost glazed grassy blades grown so long they laid down together in waves, like my husband spooning my son in the wake of Calvin’s seizure. Like so many wilted leaves shivering on the tips of bows stripped naked by cold and wind, inside, my son shuddered in his sleep.

These fits of his never get easier to bear, and in my trepidation I gave him extra cannabis oil at bedtime, then again at two a.m.. Before dawn, the seizure ripped through him anyhow, sending him to a place I fear, yet cannot fathom.

December’s bitterness kept us inside for most of the day, walking and crawling in circles, mounting stairs then descending again, my body a faithful shadow for my boy's incessant need to stare at the sun. Calvin never quite settled, his mind likely reeling from the surge of its electric storm and, too, the powerful drugs meant to stall its gale.

Day ten was one of countless I’ve lamented living in this prison—these four walls and the epilepsy itself—which holds us captive, unable to pursue a life outside certain margins. I thought of my brother and his wife who for years took care of my aging mother as she descended into Alzheimer’s mire. And, though I grieve Mom’s passing, I rejoice and simultaneously envy my brother’s release, and I wonder if Michael and I will be serving a life sentence caring for Calvin, never again to kiss foreign shores, see more of the world, or breathe the freedom of time and place to do as we please.

Still, Michael and I were able to escape for a spell, to steal away in the night and huddle around Lauren’s fire drinking warm glögg from mugs, eating figgy pudding and putting our feet to the flame until our soles began to smoke. When our backsides and toes were sufficiently cold, we bid our farewells to join a second celebration, the moon again on the rise.

At the second party, one of the hostesses greeted us wearing an exquisite squirrel-pelt frock she’d shortened a bit to fashion a matching stand-up cowl. With my hands clasped around her soft gray waist I was reminded of Capote and Hepburn's Holly Golightly, and Moon River began flowing through my mind. Amid happy hubbub, we helped ourselves to sandwiches and sushi, sake and champagne, and mingled and joked with more fine folks from town. Behind me, as I sat at the bar, a tiny baby was passed from one guest to another, each folding him gently in their arms. I spoke with his mother, asking how much the tot weighed.

“Eight pounds three ounces,” she said, beaming that her preemie was fattening up, now seven weeks old.

Calvin was just over half that when he was born, I thought, impossible to believe that I myself had held a child so fragile and small and that he’d survived the ordeal.

After some merrymaking and plenty of embraces we headed home for bed, tired from another early start to the day. Several times in the night I awoke to Calvin kneeling in his bed and banging its panel in a frenzy. Each time, I undid the safety netting, laid him back down and put my palm to his heart, which at times was racing in what seemed to be partial seizures or perhaps simply the wicked grip of benzo withdrawal. I gave him an extra dose of THCA cannabis oil attempting to avoid a grand mal.

At Calvin's midnight awakening, I peered out the window to see a mackerel sky, the moon a glowing stone in a river of drifting clouds, and I thought of Moon River again, and of how the song reminds me of me and my boy—my dream maker, heart breaker, huckleberry friend.

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