Torn and bleeding,
cursing and weeping.
We bind his wounds and warm his room.
Cook family food.
Wash an assortment of clothes.
He’s quiet, soothed by familiar books and clean linen.
Then bored, then restless.
Pacing, yawning, smoking fast.
Tapping, stabbing at his phone.
Still, only when anaesthetised by tv.
And then he’s gone with a loose arrangement to return and not half enough clothes to stay away.
No word. No credit? Has he made good on his dark plans?
We lie in bed and imagine, and pray. Pray not to imagine.
Then ping! A word. He’s got work and suddenly we are reassured.
We have to believe the electronic message, having not heard his voice.
It’s all we can do. All that’s left us.
But we have hope. We always hope.
* * *
I adore my grandsons, little sparks of hope and daring. Every day they make me laugh out loud. They make me glad and full of wonder. The tiredness I feel after their visits is not the same as this bone and soul weariness. I feel I am living a compromised life: that my unconscious mind is slowly churning away like a computer with a virus, depleting me of energy.
And I think of when our son was small and curious and attentive and delightful. And I wonder why and how and whether things could ever have been different.
And I hold those still little ones tight and when they rub their crusty cheeks against mine I press in or try not to pull away. Touch their bright hair and smell their warmth and play a million dinosaur games.
We only have moments to live.