He runs and runs. His running has that little bounce to it, which is so typical of him. As if short springs have been tied under his wellington boots. His hair bounces too and sometimes he’ll look back at me while running and laughing. Running and laughing, running and laughing.
“Careful!” I’d like to shout as he approaches a narrow bridge over a shallow strip of water. But I think of what a friend once said: “I try not to call after them too much. It makes them fundamentally insecure.” I think she was referring to me. In a flash I consider the bridge, and the water, and that it’s shallow.
I do not call.
Running and laughing. He trips. He falls. Not forward, but sideways into the water.
Now I run. And run. Running and pleading.
It takes a century to reach him. Before diving in I look back, somebody, anybody, help? Nobody.
I jump and see him face-up as the powerful current takes him away from me. His face still smiles. Then stiffens. I can’t reach him. I run in water. It slows me down. I dive forward again, and again, hoping to catch hold of his feet. Again. I should have jumped in further down the stream. I should have known. I want to scream: help. I try, but I can’t. My voice is locked up inside me.
I make myself wake up. My body is occupied by grief. I cannot move. I cannot sleep.
By sunrise I have repeated to myself, over and over again, “I’ll teach him to stand up. If he falls in shallow water, he can simply stand up.”
Goodmorning friday. The day Mary lost her son.