The phone feels hot against my face, but I’m not sure if the phone has gotten hotter or if suddenly my body temperature has shot up 100 degrees.

“Hey La. I gotta talk to you about something.”

I can hear the trees whipping by my car. The air they slice through breaks to either side loudly, telling me I am probably driving far faster than I should be. But my body feels heavy, and subsequently, the pedal is closer to the floor than it would be if I were in my right mind.

From behind the bars of the crib come little squeals, staccato and quiet at first, quickly escalating to a rolling forte, waking me from my sleep. I crawl over the wide expanse of the mattress, pulling myself upright at the carpeted floor. At the crib, I pull the small step stool from underneath and mount it, releasing the catches on the bars as I go, sliding them down enough so that I can reach in. His tiny red face calms slightly, his mouth still poised in an open ‘O’, ready to start howling again at a moments notice. I run my tiny fingers through his soft tuft of curly hair and murmur to him quietly. His tiny hands grab at my fingers and he kicks in glee. Bracing myself against the side of the crib, I lift him in my arms, the entire length of his body stretching more than half the length of mine. Even as an infant his size belies that he will one day be taller than me, despite him being almost 6 years my junior.

“What?!?!” I screech, swerving to barely miss a truck I am about to sideswipe because I drifted into his lane. “What happened?!?”

I walk both of us as best I can back to my bed, laying down and curling my tiny body around his even smaller one. I burrow him into the recess of my torso, singing and talking to him softly, letting is head rest against my chest so he can hear my heartbeat. Before long, he has drifted back off to sleep and I, after one final inhale of his baby scent, follow off to sleep behind him.

“One of your brother’s lungs collapsed.”

He falls while going for a layup, scraping his knee on one of the ragged boards on our porch. I swoop him up and carry him inside, cleaning his scrape while simultaneously correcting his form. I finish it off with a scooby band-aid because, like his big sister, he likes Scooby.

“They found fluid on his lungs so they are draining it…”

Behind me he wrestles with his long and awkward limbs that his trunk has not yet grown into, trying to ascend the ladder as effortlessly as I just did. We sit up on the roof watching the sky and listening to the insects chirp from the grass below. He tells me he wants to be an astronaught and I immediately begin trying to figure out how to get him into MIT.

“They are going to keep him for observation a little while longer…”

He launches himself towards me in an unsteady stagger, grinning his toothless smile and reaching for me with his fat arms. Barely a foot away, he hesitates and starts to plummet to the floor. In a flash, I catch him in my arms and hug him to my chest. “You walked baby!” I murmor into his hair and he giggles, trying to wiggle himself as best he can into the space between my chest and arms.

“They aren’t sure what caused it exactly, maybe how thin he is. But they are watching him…”

The blue of his shirt ripples behind him as he runs, trying in vain to out run our huge golden retriever before getting tackled, his laughs carried high on the wind. That sound touches me so deeply it makes my heart leap into my chest.

“They want him to put on some more weight…”

He holds my hands firmly in front of me, steadying me, determined to teach me how to skate on rollerblades.

“The doctors are going to try to drain the fluid so it doesn’t happen again…”

We ignore the begininngs of purple sunlight cresting the window sill and instead concentrate on the colors on the screen in front of us. We’re both jerking and jumping, trying to supress our outburst of glee, lest we wake his parents. After another minute the screen bursts into confetti and his arms shoot up in the air. “We beat it!” he says, the sunlight catching his braces.

“Don’t worry about him…”

I turn to from the mirror to face him and even though he has a good foot on me, my gaze makes him shrink and appear smaller. “You have to do this for yourself,” I tell him, so angry that I am trembling. “No one is going to give you anything. But I will not have you waste all this talent. You are too damn smart for it. I wish I was half as smart as you are and I am pretty damn smart. You will not waste this life, do you hear me?”

“You don’t have to come home. Everything is fine.”

When I finally make it back to my house, I fall on my knees, sobbing, gasping for air, big, shuddering tears that make my body shake violently. I feel like I am choking. I say the only prayer I can think of in that moment, over and over.

Dios conmigo y yo con El. Su será hecho.
Dios conmigo y yo con El. Su será hecho.
Dios conmigo y yo con El. Su será hecho.

I curl up on the floor and stay there for as long as I can stand.

This holiday season be thankful that you can go home and spend it with your family, even if it isn’t always your first choice. I know I am. Life happens faster than any of us can fathom.

I am out of town until next week. Be safe and well. Happy Holidays. 🙂



12 thoughts on “Bound

  1. Damn La!!! You never cease to amaze me with your writing and the emotion you put behind it. *sigh* I do pray your brother is doing better and is at home safe!! Have a good trip back!


  2. Wow. Much love, La. This entry made me cry cause there was so much…emotion in it. I don’t know…emotion is not even the right word.*smh*Anyway, hope your holiday was good. Love and hugs…


  3. Spending time with my family isn’t always my first choice either. I have never felt like I really belong, but I went anyway, and it was the best Thanksgiving I ever spent with them.They were all very happy that I came, and that I helped out cooking the meal.It seemed for the first time in my existance, if I ask somebody a question I got a straight and immediate answer. Never in my life has his happened.I ask auntie about some family pictures and she went into detail about those old pictures, she told me things I never knew, and a few things I did know, but we’re talkin’ faily secrets, tmi type stuff.I just thought it was funny, it is like they have a new found respect for me.My bother calls after I left, asks if I think it would be ok if us boys don’t exchange gifts this year. They were concerned that I don’t have the means to buy gifts. Funny, no one has ever been concerned about my finances before. I am not upset at all, it just seems very weird, my life seems very weird, I will get used to the new and improved me, but even now, it seems every time I get used to things I get put in a situation that drives home the seriousness of my new job. I am doing ok, it could be much worse!


  4. Wow.When things are not well, that’s when everything, all the moments of love, flashes through your mind. Hope all will be well, have a safe trip and have yourself a good thanksgiving…


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