I got the dreaded call from Gavin’s school today. He’s the youngest in the entire school. His teacher told us that he’s very smart, has an incredible vocabulary, and is brave.
“Hello is this, Matt? Gavin has been in the nurses office for about an hour. He’s OK, but he did bite his tongue and it won’t stop bleeding.”
While on the way to the ER, Gavin, fell asleep. I watched him in my rear view mirror knowing blood was filling his mouth. Eventually I could hear the blood interfering with his breathing. I asked him to wake up and swallow. He did, while half asleep, swallow the blood.
I parked outside the ER and grabbed paper towel. I reached back toward Gavin. I woke him up, with the paper towel ready to catch the blood. It took a moment for him to wake, but when he did, he wore a worried look and I could see he was active with his tongue inside his mouth. “It’s OK, just spit it into this.” Gavin opened his mouth and a clot was on top of his tongue. He spit the clot, along with more blood, into the paper towel.
He never once cried.
The ER doctors opted not to cauterize the laceration. They didn’t want to cause Gavin trauma. Megan held ice to his tongue all evening and finally the bleeding stopped.
And for some reason unknown to me, Gavin bounced his way up to ‘Alexa’ our digital-voice friend whom many of you might also have and said, “Alexa, play Charles Bukowski.”
Tomorrow I’ll work twelve hours. Maybe more. I took a second job. We need money. The build is going over budget. As they do, and I am happy to do what I need to do. Pulling wire isn’t what some wish to do, but I am among the few that will know how to do it. My company is functioning, too. Always. It’s been fifteen years of slathering my mind all over what to make it. I’ve made it tick long enough. If it can’t continue without me holding its hand I’ll see it when it wakes up, dust out its corners and revive what’s worth caring for. So here I sit, yet again with a beer, looking out our condo window thinking of the build. The great build. Or, so it is for us. Our tiny family- our house on the hill. Our second story windows face north and happens to be where my office is going to be. I’ll watch blizzards from my office window while reading a good book. It’s worth the hours of work. Twelve hour days with sweat running down my back is a gift to feel while knowing we’ll have what we’ve always wanted after the sweat has dried; receding into the same stillness that helped create it.
I just bit my tongue
hard while sneezing
In the background I hear
“There goes Daddy!”
I was washing bottles
Now I have blood filling
my mouth with soap suds
dripping from my hands
I can feel another coming
I smile as it loads
We sit, clashing smiles, seeing each other, hoping for blood. Again. It’s not enough to read our history. Word of mouth is a joke we understand, it’ll only play out nicely when we kill one another. Don’t you agree. The boy was confused by the rock. It was a menacing rock. He’d been deep in the woods and fallen asleep next to it. ‘Why do you speak to me, rock.’ the rock did not reply.
We weren’t asleep. The disgusting face was once again in our ear. The box was heavy and dark over our heads. Ask one more time to see. We bite through our mind’s fluid darkness to find another- alone and alone always here. It is better than being in the box with the heaviness and the darkness with the question to always see.