My grandson turns thirteen today. A teenager.
He and I spent the day together yesterday.
At some point, without intending to, I began running my fingers through his coarse copper-colored hair while he slept through our superhero movie, his head resting half on his pillow, half on my thigh. I began to pray, because sometimes that’s all that you have available at that moment, there are no votes to make or protests to march, it is too late in the night to call a senator or make a stink at all. Sometimes when there is no action for you to alleviate your thoughts, all you can do is direct those thoughts to an unknown force, an unseen entity, and even when you believe in those unknowns and unseens, you also know that the words floating around in your head and swirling in your mouth are based on fears that can be measured and quantified, based on news reports and government statistics, and always, always, those cunts who say that nothing happened.
And I prayed.
I prayed like I did when he was first born, because earlier that month, the Santa Monica shooting happened.
But then again, I prayed this way, the day that his mother, my baby was born, because earlier that year, a little boy killed his bully and himself.
So I sat there, staring at a t.v. screen and I begged, I offered to trade my soul, my future, everything that I am and everything that I will be, “just keep my loved ones safe.”
And the whole world prayed, barring some, for the same, “just keep my loved ones safe.”
So I looked at the screen and I looked at my grandson’s head, and he woke up, just in time for the end, the good old proverbial Boss Fight, and I said, “you have a good heart, a good mind and a good soul, you are a good person. always be a good person. i love you.”
He looked at me, smiled and said, “I love you too. May I have some Sprite?”