Thursday, February 14, 2008

Remembrance of Things Past

I'm falling...

Heart-rate, GPS, and adrenal measurements all concur, and my son's life begins to flash before my eyes.

My death program is running, and the random number generator is feeling precocious as the pavement approaches.

First - it's William, asleep in his crib. He's two weeks old, and a tiny stuffed bear keeps guard over his slumbering girth. 10 lbs, 4 oz when they cut the cord. He's already at 12 lbs. My mother's side of the family. Each generation gets a strapping, brilliant young man and I hit the jackpot.

Second - his first step. His sister is crying in the background. The image is blocky and clearly an ancient digital encoding (the serial number on my first pair of ViewTacts was 000-0000-000000-0-000003), but I feel a grin twitch at the corners of my lips as the 38th floor rockets past. 8 months, 2 weeks - he beat my record!

Third - getting on the bus, on the first day of Kindergarten. I'm beginning to suspect my death program is not as random as advertised, but it's ok. I appreciate a narrative thread. I only hope I make it to the ground before I get to the inevitable ending.

Fourth - a Fencing meet. He's in high school now, driving his first car and moodily hating his life, in a good-natured sort of way. He shines on the mat. At nearly 6'6", his reach is a huge advantage - and his breezy, pinpoint skill with the epee has brought him to the championship match. I cheer him on, and the viewpoint shakes with nostalgic euphoria.

Fifth - College. It's moving too fast. I only just passed the 25th floor. It needs to skip back, or slow down. I must admit this was a great moment, though. The first time we shared a joint. I told him about marching in the streets after Bush declared martial law, and about the early, astonishing days of the first Obama presidency. He told me about the girl he loved, and the girl he'd taken to a clinic.

Sixth - Jennifer. The program is supposed to be about Will, but it has chosen to take a detour, and I feel a stalking apprehension fade for a moment as I savor. Aaron is in her arms, and my heart swells with regret as I realize I will not see him grow up. I had another 30, maybe 40 years left. I could have met my great grandchild. They're both so beautiful. She's strong, they'll survive. Sara will help them. Dear Sara...

Seventh - Fuck. The intervention. This is the second worst day of my life. I cringe as I watch Will's vitriolic tirade replay itself, scars settling deep into tissue in real time high definition. He says the thing, the thing that makes my eyes haze red, and I wince as my fist surges out and bruises his cheek. It's the first time in his life I've ever laid a hand on him in anger, and he stares at me in shock. He blinks twice, then stumbles backward into a chair; his eyes are like twin diamonds soaked in resentment.

Eighth - Reprieve. It's Will, age 10. We're in London, and he is taking everything in. His accent is perfect, his cheeks are rosy, and Sara is at the peak of her beauty. I wish that I had -

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