Last Day with my little C.
There was a hint of rain in the air, he had no homework, and he didn't want to go outside, he said. We had cold pizza for snack, while he told me about the new attraction at the Bronx Zoo, and would I be able to go with the family when they go up to see it later in the summer. I explained again I was leaving, remember? We are going to the airport on Tuesday and bringing me to go to catch a plane, and I am flying far to the other end of the country, near California....he knows where that is...and the man who came over the night before is going to live in my apartment. Noel is a nice guy, remember? There will be someone new to watch him and R, and she is very nice, and has a car and will take him swimming.
He chews his pizza, humming to himself.
Can I go to the Zoo next weekend, then? I sigh, and we look at the calendar, so I can show him the dates, but, he runs off, not interested, saying he doesn't want to look, he wants to watch Lost World on Bob, please.
I stretch out on the long sofa, the soft leather is cool through my jeans and teeshirt. Lying on my side, I curl up my legs... sometimes, he will lie on his stomach along my body, his head on my shoulder, mahogany red hair tickles my neck, his feet near my knees, his fingers twined in my shirt, touching my hand....stimming, always stimming. He murmurs about the film, asking What do they call the male dinosaurs? What do they call the female ones? What kind is that dinosaur or that one? I respond, You know the answers, C... what are the answers? He sits up on my hip, I am his favourite place to sit or lean against when he reads or watches a film. He quickly rattles off the answers, giving me the names and when they lived. He reaches down and takes my hand, twisting his fingers in mine... or he'll rub the cotton of my shirt between his fingers, or twist my hair while he talks, his eyes darting. A finger will go to my dimple, How did this get there? I explain, and he wants to know if he will get one, too.
He squeals Save me! Save me! at the scary parts, even though he knows the film by heart. I know it's pretense, this flattening himself behind me, or trying to fit along my curves, his bony little boy body shivery in make believe fright. A huge grin is on his face while he says, Let's be scared, okay? We both say, OH NO! RAPTORS!! and pull a blanket over our heads while the dog climbs up on us, barking. I can smell his little boy smell, as he curls into me, giggling.
When he comes home every afternoon, I meet him at the door, and he jumps into my arms, all elbows and knees and he buries his face in the crook of my neck, as I put my face in his... we both breath for a moment, taking in each other... he strokes my shoulder, talking talking talking. We do homework, snacks, go outside and watch clouds and I answer the same 4762 questions every day, from dinosaurs and What did they feel like? his disappointment palatable every time that I cannot tell him that answer, to the various functions different dogs served to what do I think that cloud looks like. In mid question, he is done, and goes to create his sandbox world, while I retreat to my book. We continue to get along, never mis-communicating. When he overloads, and starts to yell, I laugh....causing him to stop, and laugh with me... diffusing the situation. Sometimes, he annoys me, sometimes, I annoy him. I remind him his shoes are on the wrong feet, he tells me my glasses are on my head when I think I've lost them. The rest of the family comes home, he is absorbed into their group, he smiles back at me, runs for a last hug... my last afternoon with him... and I go downstairs from the job that stopped being a job some time ago.
I will miss him immeasurably.