just before three a.m. on sunday. embracing my son in the wake of his grand mal. his skin is warm and soft. his breathing is shallow. his limbs, lanky and long. in the dark, i reflect on our saturday, just before drifting off:

smelling sweet magnolia blossoms on my morning walk. making our first trip to the garden store since the pandemic's start. resisting calvin's desire to drop. proud of his half-successful efforts at keeping a mask on. taking a short backroads drive with a kid who is "off." exchanging smiles with the runner and the carhart man with his dogs. the sickly one is missing. i wonder if something is wrong. 

relishing strolls in the sunny backyard. paper-white, pink and purplish rhododendrons opening up. lamenting calvin's poor balance and grousing. delighting in a surprise visit from friends driving by. giving thanks for in-town living. the sun and warm breeze kissing my skin. calvin crosslegged in the grass trying to eat sticks.

sitting maskless in the garden with barbara and jens. little gabriel playing with barbecue tongs. sipping the chilled bubbly jens delivered last sunday. nibbling crispy sea salt and chocolate chip cookies just out of the oven. raising a glass to toast our covid vaccinations. barbara smiling in her pretty spring dress. her hair twisted up at the back of her head. the four of us chatting and laughing. feeding my boy blueberries one by one. blocking his efforts to stare at the sun. in-between bites, receiving his needy embraces. jens noting calvin's grieving and discontent. explaining to them that he's due for a fit.

gabriel cozying right up to michael. like petals, his dollface is slightly blushed. feeling his tiny hand in my palm. leading me to the compost pile. inspecting its rotting items with wonder and surprise. wishing i had such a child. grateful to call this cute, curious being my friend. missing his big brother nate. he's away for the weekend. such adorable people i can hardly stand it.

approaching five o'clock. time to say so long. deciding to hug barbara a week before my peak resistance (she got her first shot and recently tested negative.) amazed feeling her embrace. i linger in her arms not wanting to let go. my eyes begin to well and sting. after a bit, jens takes her place. we hug like some siblings. he kisses my head. i cry like a baby, as if we've never embraced. my yearlong hunger for this kind of connection finally, though not wholly, sated. basking in the healing power of dear friends' lovely embraces.

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