He hoarsely says, daddy, and I wake up prepared to get him a glass of water, to give him a kiss, to tell him he can fix his blankets himself. I open his door and say, what is it? He points to a large dark puddle at the top of his bed. Oh.
12.45 in the morning. Pulling his shirt over his head, trying to keep the vomit from getting on his body.
He sits in the bath tub as I wash the small pieces from his hair. He shivers in the night while I dry him off. Get him new pajamas.
Waking up my partner, still asleep in our bed. Explaining what has happened.
We are only half awake.
Trying not to throw up myself as I clean the vomit from his sheet, rinsing it down the utility sink in the basement. I open a bottle of pine cleaner and breathe it in to clear my gag reflex.
Baking soda and salt poured over his vomit puddled mattress in a haze of sleep conscious reasoning.
Sitting on the floor of our room, he weakly says, yay, now I don’t have to go to school tomorrow.
Dragging the mattress to the basement for further cleaning.
The lamplight in our room as he sits in our bed watching as we attempt to clean.
The washing machine running. His sheets, his clothes, the hot water cycle.
Open the window in our room, in his room. A fan blowing the night into our room, a fan blowing the sour acid smell out into the night in his room.
Hugging him and saying I’m sorry you’re feeling sick, that stinks.
My partner, his mother, laying awake in the bed in the guest room downstairs.
A scented candle burning in the night as I listen to him falling asleep next to me in our bed.