So Boyo...just what was so funny?
What gave you the giggles?
Those squeals of glee?
That ear splitting grin?
What was so joyous about that juice?
Did I make it stronger
than your mother approves?
Was it the taste of orange,
did it just hit the spot?
And just what made you laugh
all the way from school?
Memories of painting?
Or the Jubilee party
and the flags in the sun?
And that enormous grin
when you tried a few steps
mixed in with some jumps
and several bounces,
and you got the hiccups?
Hey, Boy? Just what?
I want to know!
And can we do it again?
He was listless, unresponsive. Seven days the locum GP had said, "If he's not improved in seven days, bring him in again.". It was only four days. Instinct cut in, she picked him up. S*d them if they thought her over anxious. S*d being a burden on their resources.
He was at the bottom of the stairs as she started down them. He looked up at her, then turned to get the car keys.
I see him sometimes,
fleetingly. He races by
in silence laughing; shouts,
chases his sister.
A glimpse and then he's gone.
I see him sometimes; an image
shadowed in your face
in the angle of your brow
or in your almost perfect fingers.
He's who you should have been.
I've seen him sometimes; the child
that could have been,
the brother you should be.
Yet you are you
and you are who you should be.
The boy lay limp in a bed too big for him; attached to tubes and wired to monitors. He was unreachable. They watched, held his hand, stroked his fingers one by one, his cheek, his forehead, hoped that somewhere he felt their presence, their love.
He hadn't been ill before, just colds and chicken pox. Never been in hospital bar the couple of operations they'd called him in for years ago. Now this; admitted straight from A and E and his consultant called out at midnight. They tried to ignore the fear that clutched at them; concentrating. Concentrating on a plea for him to get well as if the power of thought might heal him, yet afraid to ask for already rejected miracles.
It is three years since his birth but he can't walk, can't talk,
can't recognise his mother.
Is he three?
If I said he was three you would think he should do those things.
It is seven years since his birth but he can't walk, can't talk,
can't feed himself, dress, or wash,
can't tell what hurts.
Is he seven?
If I said he was seven you would think he could do all those things.
It is thirteen years since his birth but he can't walk, can't talk,
can't feed himself, dress, or wash,
can't read or write or swim,
can't kick a ball.
Is he thirteen?
If I said he was thirteen you would expect him to do all that.
How old is he?
To say is to brand him 'fail'.
He hasn't achieved;
got nowhere on your yardstick
of success, not touched the first rung
of that ladder.
He won't. Ever.
But have you ever seen such pure contentment
singing in the car,
watching reflecting light,
stretching out in warm water?
Have you ever seen such sheer joy
at a piece of music,
or a chocolate button,
or just because he's happy?
Don't ask his age.
It hurts to say; to see you hear
and is no measure for his life.
The ward doctor came out of the boy's room as Peter returned with yet more coffee they didn't want.
"He's stable. We've taken him off the critical list."
Pete's knees gave as relief flooded through but he caught himself; managed not to spill the coffee. He started for the room but felt his arm held back.
"There's something I want to speak to you about."
He tried to focus, to listen.
"His notes show no DNR statement. Do you want..."
Well Boyo. So what caused those giggles and that ear splitting grin? What made you laugh as we drove home from school; was it the painting, the party, those Jubilee flags? And that enormous smile when you danced those few steps? Hey boy? 'Cos I tell you, we'll do it again. We'll eat cherries, I'll make daisy chains and you'll laugh in the sun.