Next Of Kin

Entry by: Alobear

15th September 2015
“Baby, come with me. Let us travel to other times and other places so I can show you what it is to be one of us.”

My small son looks up at me in confusion. At last, at long last (in his terms), he is old enough to travel. I tug at his mind, trying to wrench it from time, in my desperation to prove my knowledge wrong. He starts at the unfamiliar sensation, then cries out, his eyes widening as he realises that his mother is the one who is hurting him.

“Mama,” he wails, “I don't know what you want me to do!”

We both weep.

His father, my beloved, stands apart, watching, always watching, his eyes sad. I know that his sorrow is for me and not for our bright, oblivious child, who cannot share the experiences I want to bestow upon him, but who can never understand what it is he is missing.

We are of a race who can move at will within our own lifetimes. We exist at all times and in all places simultaneously, our consciousness (if you will) flitting from one moment to the next (but in fact all moments at once) out of order, focusing where we choose, rather than where time tells us we should be.

But now I know – have known, will always know – that my child is different. The ugliness of the word abnormal swamps my mind, tearing at my heart, making me ungrateful, devastating my expectations – while at the same time fulfilling the inevitability of what I have always been aware would happen, is happening. I know I should accept him as he is, learn to love and cherish his difference, his inability to travel as I do, as we all do, but I cannot. I never have been able to, and never will, and that is as universal and immutable as everything I see and undertake in my lifetime.

And so it is I, and not he, who is stuck in time, endlessly replaying this single moment, in the vain hope that one time it will play out differently. The other figure in our tragic tableau – the father, the beloved – looks on in pain, not at our child's disability, but at my own lack of acceptance. He would move on, adjust the way we live to the limitations of our offspring, take enjoyment out of each single moment as it falls into place after the one before. But he is as trapped as me, unable to wrest me from my obsession, unable to leave me to wallow in it alone.

Only the child can escape this time. He is oddly free, plodding along his single, linear path as it unfolds before him, forever in unknowing wonder at what might be around the unrevealed corner.