Woke up at 2 something…nearly 3am and all I could think of was this:
“I wonder how the future will be like.”
(My son) was sort of brushing his teeth when he said it and I was sitting on the toilet seat looking at the patches on the bathroom wall I’ve been working on for the past week where I imagine him dancing from the seat to the tub to almost falling to grabbing the towel rack that was formerly in the space where the patches are only to finally grasp the reality it can’t hold his weight…and so much more.
“the future…”, I could write for hours.
I could scheme and dream and imagine I knew that girl in his class with the birth mark on her hand and the straight hair’s dad’s name in front of us reading the ski magazine in the grocery line last night…I immediately knew what it was and needed to find it. He had on work clothes and a ball cap. His pants and hoodie were splattered with drywall mud and paint. Half unshaven, like myself, and the same weathered pale blue eyes that know what it means live in a mountain town come fall. It’s coming.
There is something about instinct in uncertainty.
There is something about a cold spring and a short summer that forgets the fall and dreams of winter.
The doctors ran my father on the stress test an extra three minutes past the usual seven to get his heart rate up but every time they increased the speed or the incline he settled in around 120 bpm and kept moving. The pain in my chest has come and gone for some time now in letters and dreams but none more than when he didn’t show up on the weekend of my son’s seventh birthday a month or so ago like he said he would. (For a child of divorce that is a the stuff that crushes my once upon a time seven-year-old self.) Either way, the pain is real and when my sister called to say, “have you talked to dad?”, for the first time I wondered if there is some awfully gifted story behind my sleepless nights.
They say some people can’t rest for more than a few hours and wake up in the night because their heart stops in their sleep. No, not in some nightmarish dreaming, but right there in your bed beside your wife in the cold reality of your beating heart, it stops. It just stops…and if you’re lucky you wake up. Now is your glass half full?
Back in the bathroom… the silence after the words was thick with invention and finally I said,
“Maybe in the future they will have a machine that patches the holes…(insert futuristic whooshing zapping noises and hand waving for full effect)… AND it patches them with the paint already on.”
His eyes light up…
“Ya, ya…maybe there will be a machine that fills the holes so you don’t even need patches.”
“No, no…maybe there will be no machine, just a patch that you just stick on and it will know how to fill the holes and paint the color itself.”