Wednesday, July 11, 2007

"Walking to the bright lights in sorrow"

"Walking to the bright lights in sorrow"

The figure in front of me has long since been taller and bulkier than I am; the days where I'd quell his temper by sitting on him are a long distant memory. It is only in recent months, as he has grown into his limbs, however, that I have felt the physical difference. Known that whilst I may still have a resoluteness he cannot yet match, there is not much I can do about sheer physical force.

Maybe because I have silently acknowledged this I have played the balancing game, holding in my own temper, that scary, head fuzzing feeling that I only ever get with him, when, for a flash, the idea of causing actual pain is overwhelmingly tempting. Because matching un-reasoned anger with reasoned anger does nothing. It is a concession there, a decision to be lenient here, a silent walking away.

But today. I was not quick enough. I could not diffuse the situation in time. The first thing I really knew was when I saw, etched in every aspect of his stance, that he was too far gone. I felt it, as I forced myself between him and his intended target, my persistence rather than my strength managing to break up the hopelessly one sided fight.

And now. It has moved on further, it is beyond reason, between controlled words. My voice is raised, standing as I do in the midst of the books that have been hurled at other targets. Of course they are my books, my childhood copy of the Famous Five, spine broken, laying on the landing. But it is beyond even this.

He goes to move. Raised voices. My only overwhelming feeling is that he must not pass. I know it is a battle I can only hope to prolong, but not to win. But he must not pass.

I know, even in this moment, that we are too near the stairs for this. But, filled with adrenaline, I'm strangely confident that this will not matter. Even as I push against his weight for the first time.

This continues, a game which neither of us can win.

Then, suddenly, he takes a step backwards. I look up as he clutches his chest. A whooping noise emits from his throat.

He does not need to say the words. He cannot breathe.

I watch as his body crumples to the floor, my anger leaking out of me with every movement.

"You're having a panic attack" I say "You need to breathe through this".

I work with the public. I've witnessed projectile vomiting, fainting, blood pouring from wounds, fits. It strikes me that amongst all of this I have never seen a panic attack. And here, in my house, to the little boy who used to place his toy cars in endless lines, traffic jams across the living room floor.

I know he is ok when he tells me to go.

I retreat, picking up the books as I go. Only when I am away from the scene do I feel the aches in my arms.

The slight pain somewhere that I cannot quite identify. The reality of everything that will not be.

I do the only thing I can.

I put Jeff Buckley's Grace on and write; hard, furious, until the words wobble in front of me and I can do no more.

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