Optimus

He sat on my lap, the curve of the back of his skull nestled right under the tip of my nose and reaching to my bottom lip. He rested his hands on my thighs, lightly, occasionally entwining his fingers together, or scratching, before resting them on my thighs again. My nose was buried deep in his impossibly soft wavy hair. I breathed it in. I wanted to do nothing but breathe it in for the rest of my life. I breathed a steamy vapor of exhale into his scalp. I could feel the warmth of it spread. The damp. I thought the feeling might bother him, might make him unconsciously move away. I slowly, silently adjusted so my nose, my breathing, would not be quite so hotly released onto him. He immediately adjusted his own head, so that my nose was once again swallowed in his hair, my warm breath pouring in. He leaned into it just a bit harder.

Every so often, he would remark on some plot point of the show we watched. “That’s because when Optimus Prime goes back in time, he becomes Optimus Primus.”

“Really?” I would remark. “Optimus Primus.”

“Exactly,” he would say.

Rescue Bots. His latest four-and-a-half-year-old fascination. A show about a family of Transformers forever needing to save feckless humans from plight and disaster. The whole world for him. For me, a chance to have our two bodies this close. To feel him dance the dance of the subtle movements that keep us touching.

“I’m ready, Mom,” my son said as he walked into the room. “Well, as ready as I’m ever going to be.”

I embraced my grandson, tightened my arms around his tiny frame, rocked him side to side. “You’ll have to tell me all about the rest of the show when we get back, OK?” I said to him.

I stood up, let myself sigh out loud. “I can’t tell you how much I don’t want to do this,” I said.

“I know,” my son replied.

We were heading to the memorial celebration for Anne, who had been one of my very best friends for many years. But that was a long time ago. That was before her son David jumped. And she never recovered.

I mean, who would?

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