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The Booger Afterlife

Because it would pain him to keep a secret. And because his conscience cannot sleep with pain, he calls me closer to his lips.

My knees are already buried in the carpet by his bed, my head hovering near his. And yet it is not close enough. “I have to tell you something,” he says. He squirms beneath his blanket, pinching it with his toes and gripping it to his chin, until we could bounce a quarter on it, if we had one.  Still, my boy pulls me closer. “I don’t want to tell you,” he finally breathes. “But I will.”

“Sometimes…”

He is working on the words.

“Sometimes when my bed is really warm…and I don’t want to move, I just slide a little bit over to the edge and toss my boogers onto the floor.”

His honest eyes search mine. “Really,” he nods. But all he sees is my sleeve where my eyes once were. And all he hears is, “I believe you,” choking out my throat.

And then we are lost together. Lost in laughter that threatens to loosen a few more boogs.

When I curl my fingers a final time around his ear, I am also careful to flick the crumbs from my knees as I stand. Because.

You never know.

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