Posted by: zhak39 | February 24, 2006


It’s one of those nights when I notice the howl of freight trains, the chug and vibration that happens every night just far enough away to be unobtrusive, to be romantic, to be ignored. I hear it tonight because my mother ears are on. I’m attending. My son has a fever.

I hear rustling, moans as his temperature rises. My slippered feet make no noise but the clack of the switch, the sudden light in the hall registers behind his clenched eyes. His first words–

“Mom, do you have an important meeting today?”

It’s been less than an hour since I tucked him into bed. He has no sense of clock time, no understanding beyond internal validity, his personal perspective, this moment his truth is absolute, a singular reality. He’s rolling with fever.

“Dearest, I have nowhere to be other than with you.”

I address the base elements of his illness, the heat, the dehydration all the while his words haunt me. His basic assumption, that I am so important in my work life, that I have importance to people other than him, that what I do for a living outweighs his needs terrifies me. Can I have possibly demonstrated to him that in the balance of work and family, in the continuum of a harmonious lifestyle I would leave him solitary, shivering in the chills of an indiscriminate virus? Have I been so pumped up on self-importance that I have neglected to tell him he is the absolute core of my heart?

And though I suspect it’s not true but I wish it to be so I tell him–

“I’m here for you, my love. I’m with you. I hear you, always.”


  1. Everyone’s been sick lately. Hope your son is better soon!

  2. The finger of plaque tapped lightly at our door. As is usual for him, Sam finally fell into a deep sleep, stayed that way for ten or twelve hours then popped out of bed with an ‘I’m hungry.’ The other two are dealing with lingering coughs but clearly are on the mend.

  3. Good, I’m glad they are better.

    Maybe not so many fine dishes on his plate and the halatosis wouldn’t be so bad?

    Best to you too, dirty dish.

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