levity and surgery

I fixate on the timbit reward.

Sugared timbits and cinnamon timbits and pumpkin spice timbits and chocolate timbits and sour cream timbits and jelly-filled timbits all piled in a box, a little cardboard briefcase made of pictures of timbits. I imagine his fist clutching the handle, the doughy thud-thud knocking against his legs.

I hope he's awake when they let us leave the recovery room. I hope he can wear his rainboots overtop of his footed jammies and walk out of the hospital with icing sugar on his chin. I don't think so, though. I think we'll be carrying him. But he'll have a sour cream glaze in his left fist, an apple fritter in his right.

Tomorrow we fix the last of his premature markers: the outie belly button of a 14-foot-tall giant. An umbilical hernia exacerbated by the NICU's central line, delivery mode for chemicals and growth goop. Tomorrow, a snip and a re-making and then, at least as much as anyone can see, his visible narrative doesn't include a crash cart and a plastic box. Twenty bucks says the surgeon's going to do it blindfolded on a unicycle. It's not a big deal, but still. He will be put to sleep and a posse of masked, slipper-wearing body technicians will wheel him to where we can't follow and there's a surrender required that makes guts and breath lurch.


I compose and then I compose again, moving him almost out of the frame: half and just like that, a wet fingertip over crystal and it starts to sing. I have always done this, portraits of himself and his other, his halfness. He is a part of a whole. He shouldn't ever think of it that way but I'm thinking that maybe, under the skin, I do. I see him and I see his story all tangled up with my story, our story, and he becomes a part.

I ought to correct my composition but I won't. Not until it becomes a spoken story, one he re-remembers, cued by how we speak of it. When that day comes he will be as whole as we tell him he is. His own self, as Liam was. But for now I can't help that singing, how these are my favourites. How proper that space and that halfness feels in the right light, the way it pulls your eye more vividly to the way he lives.

Kate Inglis38 Comments