Two days later, on the morning of our departure, I held my son in my lap while The Partner showered in the bathroom. I had given birth on the very same bed, in the very same room, but now it seemed a different place in the sun and the silence. I saw the brightness of Topher's finger flakes and thought again about how old his new parts shone.
I cried then, not just with a hormonal surge, but with the pressure of an entire lifetime laid out on a tiny pair of hands. I sobbed so loud and long that The Partner heard me from behind the heavy institutional door. He emerged from the bathroom to ask what I was crying about.
"Nothing," I said. "Nothing."
Christopher Cadden, I love you so much, and forever. Because of you, I count ten fingers and ten toes, and while I do it I say a desperate prayer. I try to grasp with my own hands the texture of your future, laid out in deep bisects and powdery whorls.
As I cry I am doing it all at once in wet wishing for your long life.