Eighty-Four is the “Danger Zone”

I watch the temperature in his room slowly fall on the monitor.  He is unfazed.  Sleeping.  Sprawled in the crib that he fell out of the other night. Safe?  I hope, but feel uncertain.  

I too am in bed.  Gentle light of the kindle illuminating my aging face next to my wife whose 48th birthday is tomorrow.  I joke that I’m turning her in at 50.  I said the same thing for 40.  And here we are:  mid-life (somehow!); toddler son; dog with bulging eyes; suburbs; minivan.  Our kisses tamed after years of practice.  Our worries bigger and more real than ever before.

Seventy-nine the monitor reads.  I check the weather on my phone. Temperature will continue to drop tonight.  I slip out of bed, the light from the kindle highlights her rising falling chest.  I feel my way through the dark to the doorknob of my son’s bedroom.  Gripping it tightly, turning it slowly, I incrementally push the door open only wide enough to fit my hand through, sliding it along the wall until it hits the light switch, moving past that to the one for the fan.  I turn off the fan.  Less white noise now to cover up my actions.  As I pull the door back toward me, it creaks.  I jump.  I let go of the knob not all at once but slowly like bleeding the radiators.  It clicks.  I run back to the monitor.  I look.  No movement, no sound.  Just the racing of my heart.          

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