the color of life

his steely shriek pierces the quiet of the night. we rush to our son's side. on his back, his limbs are stiff and crooked like rigor mortis. his face is twisted into a ghastly grimace. we strip his covers, roll him on his side, keep his feet from getting hurt. after ninety seconds the violent spasms slacken. he gulps and gasps as if half submerged. something impedes his ability to breathe. mucous? drool? his blue eyes are wide and looking frightened. fingers dusky. cheeks ashen. after some successful breaths, the color of life bleeds back into them. 

fifteen years of this curse we've endured, never quite getting used to it. the feel is gray and heavy. this time, the fear of his dying looms. if he can't catch his breath, what should we do? what can we do? we take turns sleeping with him. feel his heartbeat and breathing. some hours later, another fit occurs. this one is slightly worse. after the spell, our boy is restless. headachy? panicked? confused? in the blackness he reaches out to me. pulls my head to his, but then tries to launch himself out of bed. this repeats on end. we get a few hours sleep at best.

sunup, outside it's gorgeous. green and yellow, blinding white and orange, belying my blues. i walk the dog across an emerald field draped in dew. the trees are talking to me. they seem to know what has happened. i see a few people. ones in their bubbles don't ask about my son. i don't bring him up. it doesn't matter. in some ways i embrace a heart that feels indigo and alone. still, angst burns in so many reddish directions—seizures, dreams, too much yet not enough to do. i both dread and crave the election. the nation is coming unglued. we need a beacon to unite us, come to our rescue. walking home, i wonder if i can save my son, breathe the color of life back into him if i ever need to.

Calvin during the end of a seizure, 2013

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