heartbreak kid

awake since quarter of three. worrying about my kid and the bad spell(s) he's been having. four grand mals in two weeks. two within four days. impossible behavior between seizures. bleating all goddamn weekend. no respite from his bellowing, even on our drives. his shrieks are unhinging. i roll up the windows so as not to startle bikers and runners passing by. nothing we do seems to help soothe or fix his affliction. it's relentlessly heart-rending. impossible to imagine how he feels inside.

i can't fall back to sleep. i get up for a drink and to pee. i see the waxing moon in the window frame. i understand its gravity as satellite and omen. i try hard not to resent the orb slung low in the southwestern sky. after all, it has no interests or designs. just glows there gorgeously, stars seemingly nearby.

slipping back under the covers, i worry about my sleeping child. i feel the seizure coming. like a perfect storm, everything has aligned—the blustery weather, the dramatic change in temperature and barometric pressure, the full moon just days ahead. the lord works in mysterious ways, some people claim, but only when it's well-timed. i don't find religion helpful or convincing. i feel the world would be better off without its sanctimony and warring. that's partly why i left it behind. calvin is living proof we don't need religion to be decent, loving and kind.

at three-thirty, the seizure hits my kid. at four o'clock, from the comfort of calvin's bed i hear a cardinal's first chirps. sunup is imminent. i stroke my son's head. in the dark, i picture him—his creamy skin, auburn locks, huge blue eyes with dabs of amber, noble nose, full lips, straight white teeth, slender frame, broad shoulders, sturdy back, flat tummy, little muscley pecs. i let my imagination wander—if not for calvin's brain anomaly causing his limited vision, wordlessness, awkward manner, sounds and gait, relentless seizures and side effects, calvin might have been so many things. if events had been different, he might have been a talented athlete. he has it in him somewhere. if things were different, he might've been a good student, artist, helper, activist, advocate, friend. no doubt he would have been quite the looker in the way of ordinary kids. my calvin might've been a heartbreaker. right then i stop imagining and realize—he already is.

one such day a year ago