Dominos (#478)

Symbiotic is a word I have used to describe how close Jim and I feel to Charlie. We are a threesome who is one, one team, one being, together: sym is from the ancient Greek for “with, together with,” and biosis from bios, the word for “life.”
And on the other hand, sometimes it feels like we’re dominos: When one falls down, so go the others.

I woke up late today. Meaning that I woke up Charlie and Jim late. Meaning that Jim had to scramble to get out the door to bring the white car in for a tune-up. Meaning that I had to rush Charlie out of his bed, into clothes, socks, shoes, bathroom, sweatshirt, backpack, door, outside, across the lawn, wait for the bus……

We stalled at the “clothes” part.

Being symbiotic, and especially in regard to non-verbal mother-son communication, Charlie sensed my anxiety about getting him on the bus and me in the black car to drive to Jersey City and his not-movingness increased in inverse proportion to my desire for him to get up and go.

There was some crying, “gnashing of teeth,” and too many verbal requests from me of a do this-do that nature. No budging, more words from me—“Charlie, come on……” We were both running ragged as we got ourselves into the front yard, Charlie having thrown himself once to his knees in the driveway.

But he got up. And the bus was late. And Charlie, who had gotten into the car out of sorts, hurried into the bus, me with his backpack. “It is not a big deal,” said Veronica, who had come out during all the commotion. She was right; still I kept thinking, mea culpa……..

Charlie had a really good day at school. “One minute” exactly of crying in the morning that ended when he went to sit at his desk.

I had a really good day at school too. Rain, potholes, street closings, filled parking lots despite the security guard saying otherwise, and then into ancient Greek class where the new vocabulary words included “pain” (lupĂȘ) and “joy” (chara), and then Latin where a sentence contained the word culpa, “blame, guilt” (“is that what mea culpa is from?” asked a student). Midterms next week, I said. Another Latin class to read Catullus, one of my favorite Roman poets; ancient Greek with one student who slowly translated sentence after sentence as I prompted “what case? it has the stem from a verb and an accusative ending……..” and then with another student who explained “I have to help out my mom” when I noted that he has missed too many classes and is struggling.

Charlie has been helping me out so much of late.

I told you we have this symbiosis thing going.


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