After they have left

August 28th, 2008

After they have left, driving slowly with lights extinguished, I start to shake. After they have left I set Little Boy C on the floor with a toy and start to cry. After they have left, taking the moment with them, the moment rushes at me from the high corners of the room: Little Boy C coughing, dry-heaving like a cat, something in his mouth I can’t reach, dialing 144 thumping his back all the while. Waiting, it seems an eternity, for the ambulance that arrives only after C has thrown up his afternoon bottle and a puzzle piece of one of the dried-up leaves that are falling into our garden now that late August is here. They ask me to describe what happened, the paramedics, while trying to look at the little boy I will not let go of. They are kind and dismiss with sympathetic eyes my apologies for the unnecessary call. The team leader whose name I forgot the moment he said it looks at me with the eyes of a parent; he knows this fear, I think. His partner tells me, “Lieber ein mal zu viel… [rather one call too many…].” She listens to C’s lungs and pronounces them clear; he has not, she feels, aspirated anything. They take some information, fill out a form, and leave. Everything is fine, everything is okay, C is fine, C is okay, it is all over as fast as it began, my coughing child vomiting up this dry and pointy-edged but harmless piece of autumn. Already he is playing on the floor, taking advantage of his brother’s visit to the grandparents to play with all the things A will not let him play with. He is happily destroying a Lego-firehouse, blocks flying. Everything is okay. Everything is fine.

It is only after they have left that I start to sob. Everything is fine.