Harry lost his eyeballs first. Such easy things to lose, we understood. But we couldn’t afford new eyes, least of all ones so delicate. Leslie said to me in bed the night after he returned from playing outside with holes in his face that we should start saving. Saving for what? I wanted to know. He’d cried from his mouth while trying to explain. The tears shined his chin. It was a squirrel. A squirrel! Were we surprised? No. Animals had a taste for our son. Have a taste. Still. The next year, stray dogs would take his foot. In high school, on a trip to the zoo, an elephant threw its trunk beyond the rails, plucking his arm like the branch of a small tree. It made the evening news. He was celebrated for his bad luck. But really he was careless. We knew that. He let birds pluck him bald in college. His fingernails were taken by moths. And the worst of it: he fell asleep near a hill of fire ants. They stripped him, nearly all of him, as though he were a car. Our son. Nothing more than scraps. We stopped making excuses long ago. On holidays, we set him two chairs. He can no longer stay whole. Not without string. But he is going on. Isn’t that a thing to admire? He’s married a beautiful woman. Leslie and I are grandparents to two children we adore. I pray for them, though. I am looking, always, to see where they’ve gone.
9.9 / September 2014