23 April 2008

Dance along the edge

The son appears and fusses about his wardrobe for science fair.

"I need a jacket," he says.

"No, you don't," I sigh. He's not grown at all since he had surgery, which means the second his suit is ordered, he will shoot up 4 inches. I am waiting until the last possible minute as he doesn't need it until June.

He makes a noise of disgust, and stomps loudly out of the room.

Sometimes hardwood floors aren't such a great idea.

"You said you don't want to go to State anyway," I call after his retreating back.

"He could wear my blue blazer," the spouse offers as he walks past his annoyed offspring.

And despite my belief to the contrary, the son, taller than his father and nearly as tall as me, is almost sufficiently broad-shouldered for the jacket to fit perfectly. He is elated that it becomes his.

As I slug down the remainder of my first cup of coffee preparatory to making pancakes for breakfast, the son reappears and shoves an iPod earplug into my ear.

"What song is this?" he asks, all pleasure in his purloined blazer and the promise of pancakes on a weekday morning.

I smile. A good song for morning. "'Mission,'" I tell him.

"It's a great song," he smiles.

We are two of a kind, the son and I, both given a gift that in no small measure is also a curse, the secret that sets us apart. At least, though, I've been there for him, never allowed him to feel that he was the freak everyone made me out to be. And in turn, he is mentoring a small boy who is so like him, the child's parents grateful for the insight and empathy he provides.

"Why can't I save the world?" he once asked me.

"You save it one person at a time," I told him.

It's the best we can do.

And we'll walk the line and we'll do our time
For just as long as we've been given,
And pretend that we don't hear the things they've said.

Go listen to some good music: "Dance Along the Edge" from the album Concrete Blonde by Concrete Blonde.

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