Okasaneko
(http://blog.hellokitty.com/okasaneko)
A Tubby Tabby, Three Konekos, and a Life with Hello Kitty and Autism

Archive for March, 2008

At A Crossroads

Monday, March 31st, 2008

CrossroadsOnce upon a time, before I gave up my old life for this new one, I was a doctor-in-training. I had always wanted to be one; I had dreamt of it since I was three. My entire life was a series of well-planned steps that were supposed to lead to a singular destination. And then, just then, life dealt me a totally different hand of cards. 

I have written many times about this change in direction, and truthfully, this would have served the purpose of writing about “being at a crossroads” at any given time. Yet before I plunged with eyes closed in this last leap of faith, I remember the very first time I stood before one.

The following piece was written by the nineteen-year-old medical student I was many, many, many years ago. It was my first exposure to a real hospital for an assignment in a subject called Perspectives in Medicine. I’ve left it as I’ve written it then, complete with its rough spots, so you could see a glimpse of the young person I was ages ago. This was the moment that truly humanized medicine for me.

~0~

Margarita

Her name was Margarita.

I remember because she wanted me to call her Nanay (Mother) and I could not.

She was 67 years old, a woman who had lived all 67 years in the hinterlands of Nueva Ecija. A farmer by profession, Margarita had toiled the soil for an entire lifetime. Her hands were strong, she claimed, and her back as sturdy as the trees she had back home. Nine children were borne of her slim frame and she had supported all through various professions with her hands.

I met Margarita at the Cancer Ward of the old Philippine General Hospital, a ward that was then as dreadful as its name. I was a freshman, given to fears and starts, as with an active imagination. As soon as I stepped into the dark gloomy recesses of the old rundown building in Padre Faura, I sensed a wrongness in it. A split-second feeling of panic rippled through me and I could not go on. However, I steeled myself against this tide of apprehension. Fear or no fear, it was an assignment I very well could not leave half done.

I noticed people milling around the lobby, shuffling as if dazed and disoriented. They would shuffle and pause, shuffle and pause. They looked at me with curious stares but I looked at the floor as I made my way. I could not bear to look at their eyes and see their humanity. It was the very first time in my life I had seen so many people without hope. I became afraid.

I saw the patient alone in her room in the charity wards. She was sleeping with her back turned to me. “Ah, this it, I will have to return some other time,” I whispered softly to myself. But no sooner had I finished than a matronly nurse shoved me aside and tapped the patient to wakefulness.

Misis, Misis!”

“This is Margarita,” the nurse beamed at me through gritted teeth.

This is how I met Margarita.

Oh, Margarita with the laughing eyes, why do you come to me?

I stood at the door for what seemed to be ages. She beckoned me to her side. Then she pulled me as a mother does with her small child. I remember flinching, all the while thinking how so much life was wasted on her decrepit, half-wasted body. For indeed she was just that. Emaciated. Wasted.

Life has been good to her, she said. All her children were grown and independent- what more could she ask for? In the same breath, she told me they never come anymore. They came at first, and then no more. But she was not one to pine, she said, and so she lets them be.

She pulled me closer. I was reluctant and I struggled against her arms. The closer I got to her, the stronger her scent seemed to me. I was a strange odor, a mixture of death and decay. To this day, I don’t think I’ll ever forget that smell. I squirmed shamefully against her. And then I looked into her eyes, suddenly afraid, but what I saw surprised me. There was life in those eyes! Later I would refer to them as laughing eyes, for they really were laughing.

Without warning, the spell broke, and her eyes clouded. I could smell death again.

She burst into tears.

She was not afraid to live but she was afraid to die. Death was more frightening than life because she could not fight it as she had done all the challenges hurled at her by life. Just then, she made a motion to open her blouse. I wonder now why I did not make a move to stop her. I was not a doctor; I was a student pretending to be one. I only wanted to talk to her, not examine her.

She tore at the bandages swaddled over her chest. And then I saw her secret. She had no chest- only a gaping hole where her breasts should be.

For an instant, I was filled with revulsion. It looked like minced meat. Red, swollen, with pus oozing at the sides- I could not help but think of McDonald’s and their patties. And then, once remorseful, I realized I was not looking at meat, but at a person, a human being. She did not have any breasts anymore. What she had as a suppurating ulcer, a festering wound that tore at her flesh.

I remembered. These were her breasts, the breasts she used to nurture all nine of her children. These were the source of their lives, of their nourishment.

Now, they were gone. As her children had gone.

What did I feel then, you ask? Guilt? Pity? Fear? Revulsion? I wanted so much to shout and protest at life! How could life be so cruel? Where were the doctors who vowed to help?

I held my breath, swallowed my pain, and looked at her straight in the eyes. The smell was almost gone. She had covered herself again. Her tears were gone too, dried in a small yellow towel she gripped. I held her hand tight this time, afraid to let her go. I cried for her then, and she comforted me.

Deep inside, I knew what I was going to do. I was going to be a doctor, I was going to save lives, and I was going to start at that moment.

I talked to her again, and called her “Nanay.”

I came again the next week but she was gone.

Her name was Margarita, remember.

She was 67 years old, as she will always be, for all eternity. She died the next week.

Now, when I think of her, late at night, I remember what she told me. “You’re going to be a good doctor.” And I believe.

~o~

The Blog RoundsI am submitting this post to Dr. Clairebear’s theme of “At A Crossroads” for The Blog Rounds. Just a backgrounder to those who will be reading about The Blog Rounds for the first time in this site, TBR is a medical blog carnival started by Doc Remo of The Orthopedic Logbook. It is a wonderful idea, and if you have time, I enjoin all of you to bloghop across the pages of these proudly Filipino physicians. You can check them out at Dr. Clairebear’s site or Doc Remo’s or Pinay Megamom’s.  

I’ve never joined a group before, and even this post is an exception, as I write this on the invitation of a friend, Megamom.  If I am hesitant to make myself known to the good people of TBR, it because my life is so far removed from the realm of medicine today. To reiterate what I wrote to Megamom a few weeks back : “I am very proud of all our Pinoy MDs and even prouder to have ran even just a short leg of the race with so many fine physicians like yourself, but I am most proud to be just who I am today: wife, mother, teacher, autism advocate, and hello kitty fanatic- in that order. ”

Thank you, Dr. Clairebear, for this very touching theme. A trek down memory lane was just what my soul needed at this moment. Blessings to you always!

I’m Baaaccckkk!!!

Friday, March 28th, 2008

I apologize to my good friends if I suddenly dropped off the face of earth. I didn’t mean to. I went missing-in-action to get myself checked out by an internist. Almost daily this week, I went to St. Luke’s Medical Center to consult with my cardiologist and have a battery of tests done. The last one, an exercise electrocardiogram (aka stress test) was done this morning, after a series of blood tests.Stress Test

What started this? Last weekend, in what was supposed to be a quiet Holy Week four-day weekend, I started experiencing chest pains. Some were triggered by exercise (such as running after Alphonse), and still some more others came when I was at rest. Sunday night was worst, when I woke up at dawn to the feeling of having my chest crushed by a vise. A wanted to bring me to the ER but I prevailed over him to wait and observe, it being very early in the morning and Alphonse would be left home without responsible adult care. I’ve been weaseling out of my check-ups these last few months, but Sunday night scared me to submission. I promised A to have myself checked out and I did. The results will come out tomorrow, but I have a fairly good idea what the management would be, despite diagnosis.

I’ve never been hypertensive in my life, except perhaps in pregnancy, but these last few days, my blood pressure has been quite erratic. When the doctor took my blood pressure in her office, it was surprisingly high, and since then, she has asked me to keep a daily log of vital signs for my next check-up. I do have a strong family history of hypertension and cardiovascular diseases, so I will have to be on the lookout for emerging signs and symptoms indicative of these illnesses. I would rather not be put on any medication yet so I will have to rethink and change my lifestyle to avert potential health consequences.

Fat Kitty

Beyond medication, I know that the most important goal would be controlling my weight. I lost almost fifty pounds in 2004 and kept it off for close to two years, but with Alphonse’s regression in 2007, I fell into depression and ate my way back to mental health. I don’t recommend this to anyone, but it certainly felt good while I was doing it. :-)

This is my next challenge in my coming birthday year: to get myself ready to live up to a hundred.

Reflection

Friday, March 21st, 2008

Spring

Just a thought to ponder on as we come closer to the end of the season:

“The season of Lent reminds us that the life we have and the material possessions we hold were simply lent to us. We are but pilgrims here on earth who will pass by only once. We bring nothing when we die. But we can leave behind the love we have shared, the hope we have given, and the goodness we have done.” ~ Anonymous

Today, we bow with gratitude and love to The One who gave His life for us.  May we have the grace to listen, the heart to change, and the courage to live a life worthy of His sacrifice.

Have a blessed God’s Friday, friends!

Bag Voyeur

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

What’s in your bag?

I was reading through one of my favorite Hello Kitty authorities’ blogs, Hello Kitty Junkie,  when I came upon her March 2 entry entitled “My Favorite Purse… And My Hello Kitty Contents.” Her post inspired me to do this tag, which by itself, is neither new or innovative, just a tad annoying (sorry, folks!) and a whole lot curious.

In truth, I’ve always been a voyeur of sorts, peeking into people’s purses (with their express permission, of course), wondering how these reflect their image or identity. And if you think I’m weird, just think of the many women who’ve submitted photos of their bag (and contents) in In Your Bag- In Style, a site dedicated to showcasing trendy bags of celebrities and non-celebs alike.

And so, I’ll ask ever so politely the following people to do this one for me: Leirs, MegaMom, Teacher Julie, Cris, Mari, and Toni. And also new friend Miss Nomer, and KT Sanctuary and Angie (even if I know how much she hates hates hates tags!), my bestest Kitty mates in Sanriotown, just because I want to see what kind of Kitty bag they have. :-) You show me yours: I’ll show you mine.

~Whee!~

I live in my bag. I carry a rather large bag to accommodate many of the things I can’t leave home without, like my handheld gaming consoles (what if I get bored while waiting for a cab?), or pepper spray (what if I get held up while playing with my handheld gaming console while waiting for a cab?), or two phones (what if I need to call the police if I get held up while playing with my handheld gaming console while waiting for a cab?). Okay, okay, so you get the picture. This hardly sets me apart from others. I’m sure that there are many women out there who carry diaper-bag-sized bags, and they are not entirely fashion statements. Call it an instinctive girl scout mentality; when a need arises, one only needs to pull magic from a bag of tricks, like Mary Poppins and the way she conjured a standing lamp from her overnight bag.

While I could practically blend in a sea of brandless bags, I do have a particular something that sets me slightly apart from the normal midlifer. While women my age prefer to carry $1000-Guccis or Vuittons, I prefer Hello Kitty. And so, I parade my bag with the rest of them, head held high, a certified Kitty fanatic for life.

 My bag is my home.

This is my black leather HK bag. (Please click the thumbnails for a bigger view. Not in picture- the camera I always carry. Obviously, I was using it! And stashed somewhere behind the DS case are wet and dry tissues and a hankie, which I forgot to take a picture of. ) And these are the things I carry everyday, anywhere, everywhere, bad back and all.

1. my HK wallet (with Sanrio fan club cards, both old and new)

wallet

2. my Charmmy Kitty case with the pink PSP and earphones

Charmmy PSP

3.my HK DS case with pink DS lite and earphones

Pink DS Lite

4. my mobile phones

iPhone

SE P1

5. make-up kit containing three lipsticks (Lord & Berry-Pink Attitude, Clinique- Pink Cream, and Estee Lauder-Rose Tea), a lip liner, Body Shop Brilliance Powder, Clinique face powder, Clinique blush, HK baby powder, small kitty case for medicines, kitty ponytail holder and mini-clips

make-up kit

6. eyeglasses and contact lenses

eyeglasses and contact lenses

7. coin purse, keys, rosary and a calling cards case

coin purse et. al.

8. an assortment of bottles: cologne, sunblock stick, hand sanitizer, and pepper spray

assortment of bottles

9. and my iPod (a redundancy because the iPhone also doubles as an iPod but I don’t like taking chances on batteries dying out on me)

iPod

So now you’ve seen what’s in my bag. May I see what’s in yours?

Harry On My Mind

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

Harry Connick, Jr. Tickets

 On Saturday night, A and I were privileged to watch Harry Connick, Jr. live at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) Plenary Hall for a one-night concert in Manila. It was fun to be out with A on a date night; this comes so rarely in our hectic lives. We were able to arrange to leave the boys with my parents that night, and we brought enough food, toys, and videos to keep them busy until we could pick them up again. Anticipating separation anxiety issues with Alphonse, we had planned to leave early to give him time to settle in his grandma’s place before heading out. (The week before, when we left him to go to his brother’s play, he cried inconsolably for almost an hour.) Surprisingly, when we said goodbye to him last Saturday, he waved almost immediately -his way of saying goodbye- and blew us a kiss. We hurriedly left before he could change his mind. :-)

Saying goodbye turned out to be the easy part. The ride to Manila was a nightmare! Traffic was bad (again!) and the two-hour allowance we gave ourselves to have dinner before the concert was quickly whittled to 45 minutes. All parking spots near decent restaurants were taken, so A and I settled for a quick bite of Chinese fast food. We agreed that it’d have to do until after the concert.

The PICC was full that night, save for some latecomers who arrived nearly an hour into the show. The minute the lights went down, Mr. Connick took his place on the baby grand piano and dazzled us with his piano playing. Accompanied by a 12-piece band, Mr. Connick was brilliant on stage as musician, singer, and performer.

Opening

Welcome

He had the audience in stitches with his funny spiels on the Philippines’ odd assortment of native delicacies. Halo-halo (literally translated as “mix-mix,” a mixed blend of shaved ice, milk, fruit,  and sweet preserves) is “nasty,” according to Mr. Connick who, having been raised on gumbo of his childhood, is unused to corn and beans as dessert elements. Doing a live “Fear Factor” performance onstage, he bravely ate a balut (fertilized duck egg) but quickly downed a can of Coke to wash away the aftertaste of the dead duck embryo. (Eeewww when I put it that way! No arguments here; I don’t eat balut myself.) Then the concert turned interactive, when he started throwing away extra balut eggs to audience members who waved for one. A couple of pitches were too strong, and the eggs shattered on top of  people who were dressed-to-the-nines. 

With the balut

But the fun wasn’t over yet. As Mr. Connick sang the first few bars of his next song, he let out a strong, satisfying belch, and we all let out loud guffaws. He grinned sheepishly, aware that this event would be remembered as a first in performing history. :-)

Shimmy on

Moving his booty

Mr. Connick shimmied, crooned, and warbled his way into our hearts. As he leaves Manila for the next leg of his tour, he carries with him our deepest appreciation and respect. Manila is not likely to forget him any time soon.

Mommy’s DAYS Out Part III

Thursday, March 13th, 2008

InvitationSunday, we brought Alex back to school early morning for Mass and more practice with his friends. I squeezed in a few errands after that and by early afternoon, I was dead tired. Three days of nonstop activities were too much for me. I was beginning to feel my age (Alex’s favorite line), it seemed, so I allowed myself a power nap before I got ready to go to Alex’s performance .

There’s a side story to this, one worth telling. I was so sleepy Sunday afternoon that even as I was debating with myself on whether to set the alarm on my clock or not, I had dozed off. I figured that I would wake up long before the time I needed to get myself ready. And so I slept soundly for the first time in days, drool collecting at the corners of my mouth, until I awakened suddenly…to the sound of my mother-in-law’s voice. Yes, my mother-in-law, now gone almost three years, and her distinct voice saying loudly and clearly “wake up…gonna be late.” I was startled into wakefulness. I jumped out of bed, put on make-up in a hurry, and made it with enough time to spare. (I did pass by the church ossuary to say thanks to Mom.)

Alex as Marat in “The Bashkir And His Prize”

(Alex, at right, as Marat, and friend R, as the General) 

And what can I tell you about “Unang Lipad?” Alex was part of  the play The Bashkir And His Prize, one of three plays they put up that night. This was a story of a Bashkir general who wanted too much but lost all in the end, an  adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s short story “How Much Land Do You Need?” Alex played  Marat, one of the three Bashkir folk the General  met along the way. 

I was in awe at my son’s ease on stage and the way he said his lines with conviction. He exuded confidence so visibly that I was dumbstruck at his ability to relate to the audience. I’ve never seen him that way before. The Alex I know has always been a little reticent and often ill-at-ease with large crowds. Yet that night, I saw my son as I had never seen him before- a self-assured young man whose talents clearly shone through. He acted with flair, sang with a passion, and even danced (and believe me,  he never dances).

I was also amazed at the other aspirants and I felt as proud of them as I did my son. It was difficult to believe that these polished actors were 14 or 15-year-old boys, mere high school freshmen. Their confidence and poise on stage were unbelievable!

Singing Their Hearts Out

(The Aspirants)

Towards the end, just before a series of song and dance routines where every aspirant  was allowed to show off his talents, they spoofed the seniors of the Theater  Club, and the crowd went wild with their almost-perfect impersonations.

(see Alex below, in yellow Kobe Bryant jersey)Spoof Play

Spoofing Mr. P

(even Mr. P had his own impersonator!)

The theater was full that night and as the guests departed, the boys lined up to thank those who made it to their first performance.

Goodbye and Thanks to the Audience

Afterwards, A and I snuck back inside the theater to watch the boys in a huddle with their beloved mentor, Mr. P. Surrounded by a circle of boys, Mr. P prayed with them, lavished the boys with praise and encouragement, and dispensed timely advice.  The boys’ faces shone with respect and pride: they had made their teacher proud.

Post-play Huddle

The Dream Team with Juniors

We made it home near midnight, tired, hungry, but happy. To see Alex welcomed in a circle of friends filled our hearts with joy. Here, at last, he has made a place for himself under the sun. It was a beginning.

Mommy’s DAYS Out Part II

Thursday, March 13th, 2008

Welcome Banner

Saturday was Alex’s Family Day. Originally, we had planned for Alex and myself to be there at nine and stay till four in the afternoon, and Alphonse and A to follow only at lunch time to cut on waiting time. With Alex’s theater club working overtime, however, we had to scuttle our plans and squeeze a few hours with them before Alex went back to acting practice.

Go,Go V!Alex and I were part of the Blue Team, which, before we left, was tied with the Yellow Team at 1-1. The Yellow Team trashed us horribly in father-and-son basketball- 33 to our 16 points- but then again, they had a deeper bench and could make substitutions readily when someone was tired. I think we had a better team (our boys were really good players), but because some of our dads had knee injuries, our playing dads were forced to stretch themselves to their limits. The Yellow Team was so confident of a win that they even substituted a mom for one of the dads (rubbing salt to our injured egos);  V sure showed us how to play basketball in style. (Go, Go, V!)

The Blue Team won in the milk-drinking contest. I wish I could show you how cute our boys looked chugging down milk from baby bottles (!) but we all promised them that they will never ever find humiliating photographs of themselves on the Internet. :-)

My Gorgeous Friends C, C,and S

Before Alex and I left, we shared lunch with the class (26 boys and their families came) and took a souvenir photo of all of us. The food was delicious and plentiful; it seemed everyone brought something for everyone else. We had lunch, picnic style, under the shade, picking off from each other’s plates, feasting on E’s pork adobo, and C’s chicken galantina and green Indian mangoes with bagoong (shrimp paste), and many other delightful dishes from our generous co-parents.

B FamilyAlex and I missed the last games of the day, held after lunch, as we had to rush back to school for more practice. Gorgeous S sent me a message a little after four to give me the good news! The Blue Team won! Yahoo!

Recreated iPhone messageMore on Mommy’s DAYS Out Day Three next…

Mommy’s DAYS Out

Thursday, March 13th, 2008

I’m hung over. Call it “post-traumatic-over-scheduling,’ if you will, but after a whirlwind of activities last week, I am still working through aching muscles and troublesome headaches. Lest I mislead you into thinking I got myself into some horrible mess, allow me to state outright that last week’s experiences, though busy and overwhelming, were all wonderful and inspired. But that they came one after another left me no breathing room, and for one not quite over the flu, the daily activities took their toll on me

For most of last week, Alex had been staying late in school to finish their Theater Club’s culminating activity for aspirants. (School officially ended last February 29.) Brought early to school each morning, Alex worked with other freshmen aspirants to prepare for Unang Lipad (First Flight), a showcase of the aspirants’ singing, dancing, and acting abilities, and a venue for creativity, leadership, and direction for the incoming seniors of the club.  Practice ended late most nights. The drive was long and traffic was bad, so every night last week, I went to bed nauseated and feeling like the world was spinning around me.

On Friday, I had to come up for air and “surface” in the real world for an official Mommy’s Day Out. For the first time in weeks, I had to give up my comfy Crocs in favor of ladies’ shoes. I don’t wear heels a lot – this obviously comes with the territory of caring for children - but I do enjoy the occasional opportunity to show off  newly manicured toes and well massaged calves. Then I had my hair and make-up done at a salon, a complete pampering that started the day just right.Ladies Who Lunch

The reason? BusinessWorld’s quarterly female forum, Ladies Who Lunch. A brainchild of BW’s female president, Ms. Barbara Locsin, Ladies Who Lunch debuted in August 2006 as a forum for female powerhouses in the business industry to speak on issues pertinent to their work, lifestyle, and roles as women in Philippine society. On previous luncheons, themes of time management, shopping styles and personality, angels, values formation, and beauty beyond vanity were discussed. LWL always draws a sizeable crowd and one always meets fascinating people.

Ms. Lia BernardoFriday’s theme was “Dressing To Impress,” with Ms. Lia Bernardo, Marketing Director of Rustan’s Department Store, as guest speaker. It was an enlightening experience, as Ms. Bernardo recommended ways to improve one’s projected image, from using the right colors to picking up versatile, and not necessarily expensive, pieces for the business wardrobe. As always, there was a sumptuous buffet (courtesy of Gateway’s Mandarin Oriental Suites), freebies for attendees (BW media products and Chanel make-up), and free services such as a make-overs by Chanel, facials courtesy of Lancôme, and even and invigorating massage by the professional staff of Orange Spa. :-) 
 
With VivianOf all the things I did that day, however, chance encounters with strangers left me feeling especially good (and less guilty) about having enjoyed some Me time. At the restroom, a pretty young lady came up to me and asked if I was who I was, and having confirmed her suspicions, talked lengthily about the columns I’ve written. I was touched that this young mother of two, Vivian, could empathize so keenly with my own aspirations as a mother and as a woman.

Then too, I met Dr. Eric Tan, a physician by training but an entrepreneur by choice, as he chatted with guests who availed of his spa’s free massages. Dr. Tan is the owner of Orange Home Spa, a professional massage service that offers home services and spa parties. I signed up for a back massage and it was heavenly! I went home that night tired from the whole day experience, but a little more relaxed, and a lot more grateful for the opportunity to meet new people and make new friends.

Orange Spa

More on Mommy’s DAYS Out Day Two …

Light Bulb Moment

Monday, March 3rd, 2008

Kitty Light Bulb MomentIt rained heavily today, and Alphonse, seeing the opportunity to play in the downpour, was all worked up and excited. From my sickbed, I could hear him yelling in joy, his shouts becoming increasingly shrill as the rain splashed even louder against the roof. As soon as his class was over, he didn’t even bother to look for me in the bedroom or kitchen (as is his daily practice); he simply ran off outside. I could hear his whoops and screeches and laughter from upstairs.

A few minutes later, it dawned on me that he might not be adequately dressed to play in the rain. And I was right. He had taken off all his clothes and was running around in his birthday suit. (Thank God for high fences!) His arms were stretched to the heavens, and he was twirling, spinning, and jumping in joyful abandon. Were I oblivious to who he is, I would’ve said he was a ballet dancer dancing in the rain (ehrm, make that a naked ballet dancer), so graceful and so rhythmic were his movements. :-) He had his eyes closed and a beautiful smile lit up his rain-drenched face. 

He seemed so happy that I felt compelled to run up to him and give him a kiss.

As I drew nearer, however, I suddenly noticed a perceptible change in his expression. He looked at me with a puzzled face, the small knit of his eyebrows erasing any trace of the smile a few seconds before. As soon as I was within range, he plucked my eyeglasses off my face and paused. I held my breath, trying not to hyperventilate. (Inside, however, my mind was screaming, “No, not again!” but I didn’t want to do anything abrupt that might upset him.)

He looked at the  little droplets of water running over the lenses, and the knit turned into a frown, as if remembering something horrible or disturbing from the past. His hands gripped the frame harder, twisting them slightly.

I felt time stop as a light bulb went on in my head. Suddenly, it occurred to me that  something about my glasses — some minuscule change in them — made him unsettled or angry or frustrated.

The water. Yes, the droplets of water running over them — that was the common theme.

The last time he mangled my lenses, I was helping him bathe and I could remember that my glasses were a little wet from his splashing around in the bath. He seemed puzzled and somewhat repulsed, as far as I can tell, from the beads of water on my lenses. I had related this episode to his anxiety over the changes in his daily routine, but what if it was an add-on source of discomfort to an otherwise already uncomfortable day? What if these two were unrelated?

Alphonse has always loved water. He could make a fountain of water dance magically in the air with just two fingers and the slightest change in pressure between them. He could sit on a large basin filled with water for hours (if we let him) and pour and splash and do all sorts of things with it with his hands. But when water strikes a glass pane, as in rain pouring down windows, he would track the beads of water as they dropped and, seeing them disappear in the thin gutter between the window and the pane, would often whine irritably. Was this the same thing?Alphonse and the Hose

I am sooo a dunce! Why didn’t I see this before?

I was silently berating myself over this when as suddenly as he had taken my glasses, he simply handed them back to me without a sound, my eyeglasses bent but none the worse for wear. Perhaps the rains made him a little more forgiving and less anxious, I really couldn’t tell.

Then he was off again, arms stretched out like the wings of an airplane, flying in a whirl of water, dancing in the rain.