What does the crocodile say?
One of my earliest memories is of you suffering from an earache. It's more like a photograph in my mind—our living room in Marlborough Park, with its brown carpeting and couches, dimly lit. You were on Dad's lap, crying, and so was he. Whether he truly cried alongside you, I cannot be certain. But does the accuracy of his recollection matter in this instance? Helplessness best describes the feeling. There's a sense of stillness, as if we were waiting for a bus. Perhaps we were indeed waiting—for medicine to take effect or for your crying (and his) to subside. Questions arise: Where was Mom? Was it truly you on Dad's lap? Like many childhood memories, I ponder if reality has been distorted. Sometimes, a reliable narrator (Mom) reveals that it wasn't as I remembered. Similarly, regarding your nightmares, I recall experiencing them when, in fact, it was you who often woke in the night, crying out in terror while I observed from the doorway as our parents comforted you back to sleep.
Sid has experienced COVID, laryngitis, hand, foot, and mouth disease, numerous colds, and what we suspect to be eczema in his short life. Although COVID caused the most concern, after the fever broke on the first day, he almost entirely recovered. Hand, foot, and mouth disease was terrible, yet even with sores swelling his little hands and face, he remained in high spirits. Recently, he developed a wheezing, harsh cough, prompting us to take him to the walk-in clinic for the first time. I knew he wasn't in danger, but an underlying worry convinced me otherwise. The sound of his breathing, rattling and labored, reminded me of my childhood asthma—struggling to catch my breath in gym class and at the top of the tobogganing hill.
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As soon as we entered the clinic, Sid's wheezing stopped. If you didn't know any better, I suspect everyone there assumed I was the one who was unwell (I wore a mask, Sid did not). The doctor appeared unconcerned and sent us away with a shrug and a smile, "I think it's bronchitis, but he seems in good spirits!"