“Oh, blood. Somebody must have died there.”
He is five-years-old and I’m standing outside the bathroom on the campus of his elementary school. The door is propped open and the floor is covered with paper towels and urine. There is blood on the sidewalk between me and the tile.
“I doubt anyone died there,” I tell him. “Today,” I keep to myself.
Maybe it is spit heavy with dye and candy.
He is unfazed by the possibility of death or by its looming presence. He is running in the cloudy haze of springtime, fresh from finding a favorite sweater among the memories of the lost and found. He is jumping cracks and lines drawn from chalk.
I am walking a growing distance behind him. My sweatshirt is pulled tight. The springtime wind is sharp and cold.
My head is full of medicine and mucus. The image is unpleasant and the reality is worse. It is a day after my thirty-eighth birthday and I am tired and my Facebook wall is full. It is a good feeling to be thought of, but even the warmth of sentiment is lost in the breeze. I pull my sweatshirt tighter.
We are home and the boys are not listening. My wife is listening to the J. Geils Band and everything is a freeze frame.
There are cards in the mailbox full of checks and signatures. I read every line, even the words written by a company that has never met me. I put the money in my wallet and throw the cards away. They’ve served their purpose and theirs is to be forgotten and recycled. Perhaps they will come back as a love note or parking ticket, a poem, or a receipt. Maybe a birthday card is all there is.
I’m behind in my work. I’m behind in my bills. The daylight lasts an hour longer and it is not enough.
There is cold coffee and leftover spaghetti on my desk—a temporary stop before they are a part of me, like the spring and the wind, life and death, my boys, my wife, a wall written on and mailboxes filled. Like work and bills and walks of growing distance, everything is medicine and everything is mucus. It is heavy with dye and candy.
Everything is a freeze frame and for some reason I find comfort there.
Originally published on WhitHonea