I don't remember the sky without those man-made clouds - those airplane slug trails that lead from concentration to dissipated sky dander. But I remember the water. Creeks and runoffs slither and coil in my mind's three-ring scrapbook — that oily film that glittered on the standing water - that eerie foam near the rapids. I can feel the rough sandbanks on my toes and the lurking fear of the cottonmouth nearby. The road noise moves him, and the slap of his body on the green-brown shallows snaps me out of myself. And I run like hell all the way to my bright blue bedroom in that pink brick ranch and shiver with life.
He has a tottering walk. My two-year-old on the stairs is a wafting plume of possibility. Each step is a smelting furnace as panic stokes the coals to blue, "Ore is useful enough. Who needs iron?" But leaving the forge to work means a little boy descends the terrifying didn't-happen, and becomes a walker.
The children are chirping at the bus stop, fed on their parents regurgitations. "Are you Spanish?" "He doesn't look Spanish." "He looks Asian!" (What does that even mean?) Will they ever questions their categories? Will they reject pre-chewed fare one day? Will they fly and go look for solid stuff? And what have I fed my little goslings at home?
He descended from the Prices of Albion, Michigan - a humble lineage if any. He descended the Mississippi river to the namesake state: a dry, yankee fish; descended from a radar technician to a night watchman, from a full-fingered man to an amputee, from a boisterous firebrand who played a mean hand of Spades to a wafer in a hospital bed, gagging at the wretched machines. Then, he finally ascended. "There shall be no night there: They need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever." - Revelation 22:5
4.5 A gasp and a cry. Thumping up steep stairs. (Too steep. Stupid builders!) “Creak,” shouts the landing. The end of the hallway groans. Shuddering with sobs, my boy is waiting for a savior. “Jesus is keeping you safe.” Fears stilled. We douse the bedside lamp. Darkness pounces, never slinks, into the room. A preschool imagination fires a million synaptic candles. Sleep quenches them - one then 10... Later I pause at the door. Hairs on my neck exalt themselves - What if he’s not alone? The panic of a four-and-a-half year old throttles me. And ghouls and goblins and bad guys and grey wolves parade through the…