Michal: On Friendship
I was Michal's friend. We played spin-dancing, kickball, snowball fights, puddle jumping, wagon riding, piggybacking, fort-creating and fort-destroying; we carried each other through life, our collective togetherness: his presence meant there were games to play, food to prepare, crying and laughter to be had, hope and anger and love to be spent, and all of it in an afternoon, or on the couch, or in the windowsill during the rain.
A friend asked me recently, "that heaviness on you; is that just, like, the new you?"
I said it was. I had a friend, a little 3-foot-something friend that absolutely adored me. He would run to the car when I came home from work and sit in my lap and push every button and every lever in my car, he would look up at me and I would poke his sides and we would hold each other and laugh and hug and tickle. And now My friend asks me if this "heaviness on me is, like, the new me"
Of course it is me. I had a son, his name was Michal Caleb, he lived for 4 years, 3 months, and 3 days. He died in my absence. I arrived to find his fingers cooling, his face spiderwebbed in purple veins, his mouth agape, dead lips sucking in vain on a breathing tube now unplugged. I remember him always, at night, when I come from work, when I see the clouds, the moon, the sun, when I set my beer down on the side of the bathtub, when I rise to shower, when I sit to type: there is a haunting that sits in every moment of life thus lived beyond him: every action betrays his existence, moves the tyrannical present forward with all its graceless envelopment of his memory, his laughter, his lightening mcqueen shoes, his beautiful, suffocating joy. I don't want the present. I don't want tomorrow. I just want a way back. I want to go back to August 13th, 2010 and pick him up and hold him and run my hands through his hair, sing him a song, feel his heartbeat, blow into his neck, spin him in circles, watch him jump from the fourth step, watch him careen around the kitchen, watch him chase the cat, watch him endure.
He called me that day, August 13th, while enroute to the hospital. He said, "hi daddy." He said, "can I say goodbye now?"
I'm not sure tomorrows count anymore. I love you so much Michal. We were the best of friends.