“But it’s stuck in my throat!” the child wails and coughs in that exaggerated manner of preschoolers. She wants to roll her eyes. Resists. Sighs heavily, instead. She knows what is crawling its way up from her child’s throat. Her head dismisses it as a fit. Her heart knows the thing is not that dramatic or ugly.
“Leave it alone! It will work its own way out!” she snaps anyway. Tone, woman! Immediate regret. Impatient, distracted. The child clings to her pants leg now. She resists the urge to shake him off. God! I just want to finish one th—
But her child’s eyes are wide, locked on hers. She drops to her knees and holds his waist, tiny in her grip.
“I am here,” she says and means it. Musters her most reassuring face.
He whimpers and flaps his hands like some baby bird trying to fly after falling from the nest. The terror. The unknown. And there it is–
A coil of vapor, like a tentacle, slips from between his lips. It snakes around his neck before rising up off of the back of his head, ruffling his hair as it moves. It condenses above his head like a boiling cloud. Shimmers iridescent. Sometimes turbulent with small thunderclaps. Sometimes still with violet luminescence. There is a movement inside the cloud. Then another. She looks closer. Little people. Miniature him, miniature her and the others. Past, present and future, actors on one stage. She smiles.
The child quivers, eyes shy. Relief. “I did it!” he says. “Oh, thank you, thank you!”
Hugs and sweetness. She always loves this bit. It won’t always be this way. One day, you’ll—
“Yes, you did.”
He pulls back, his expression open. Yet, his eyes. Shrewd already. They study her face for signs of the truth or flickers of deflection.
“Um, tell me what I did, Mommy?”
She laughs. How could he know?
“You found your voice, my love.”
Copyright © 2015, Ilana Hulsey Rea. All rights reserved.