Erik Quinn: The Heart of a Family: Motionless

Thursday, November 06, 2008


All day Tuesday Erik was absolutely furious with me. He flatly refused anything I offered, even if it was something he really wanted. Frustrated, I finally bundled him up in his jacket and took him outside. We walked up the road to my friend's house to visit the golf carts Erik loves so much. There are two of them sitting by her barn now. A couple of years ago, my friend's husband would whisk me home in one of them to hasten my trip in nasty weather. He would skillfully navigate the thing at maximum speed despite a beer can in one hand and a burning cigar in the other. Their little dachshund would stand in my lap, taking up the entire length of one of my thighs, and his long ears would blow back in the wind, making him look a lot like a serious and regal hood ornament. We would zip over the gravel, and I would giggle with glee, despite my efforts to remain dignified. On top of everything, my eyes would water in the frigid air, and my makeup would run.

Those days are over now for the golf cart. It now sits silent after years of abuse by the sometimes pickled teenage kids who took it for daring joyrides over the dirt berms on our property. Some of the maneuvers I have witnessed that golf cart do late at night would put the Duke Boys' General Lee to shame.

Now it sits next to another aging, broken-down golf cart in need of repair, sporting widening spots of decay in its fiberglass body. The cup holders collect nothing but dust and rain water.

Erik could care less. He still thinks it is the best thing since sliced bread.

I allowed him this unexpected, luxurious visit and smiled at his delighted reaction. I sat in the passenger seat of the white cart and took a call for work while tiny snowflakes fell around us like bits of campfire ash. Erik laughed to himself and circled both vehicles, slowly bending to closely inspect each wheel as he went, appreciating every inch of machine. Meanwhile, I spoke on my cell phone and tried to sound professional by willing my teeth to stop chattering.

When I was frozen solid and my call was finished, I told Erik it was time to walk back to the house. If his vocabulary included filthy words, I am certain he would have used them all on me. I was then forced to carry over 35 pounds of boy back down the road. By the time we reached the porch, the fury had fizzled to grief, and tears and snot ran down his face in slimy rivers. My legs were beginning to sting from exertion.

He said, "I am crying because I am sad!"

I told him that I understood and while that was okay, this type of overreaction would cause me to think twice about visiting the golf cart graveyard again. He sprawled on the kitchen floor, stomach down, and continued to sob, looking up at me intermittently to gauge my reaction.

By that evening, he had been overtaken by a raging fever. I was relieved there had been something fueling his odd behavior and mood swings but felt nervous about another round of high temperatures. The boy is rarely ill, but when he is, he usually gets very high temperatures. They reached 103 yesterday. His cheeks were blotchy, and he asked me to lie on the couch with him. He was soon snoring, and it was strange to see him as anything but a blur zooming around the house. He was motionless, and I wrapped my arms around him and stroked his gorgeous hair. As soon as it was time for more Tylenol, the skin blotches would form again before they ran together into a furious blush, and his eyelids seemed to become heavy. He would wake intermittently and attempt to jump up and sprint across the living room, mumbling the names of people he thought were coming for a visit or about pieces of his favorite construction equipment. The color of his skin caused him to look like me after a step aerobics class at the gym but soon returned to normal after I held him down and shot cherry-flavored Tylenol down his throat from a syringe.

Today he is a sight. His hair has an unidentifiable substance dried in it, and he is wearing pajamas in the middle of the afternoon a la Howard Hughes. There are crusty islands of Malt O Meal dried on his chest. Old tears have dried on his cheeks, leaving salty rings.

For the life of me, though, I can't seem to get a hold of the guy to begin to clean him up. It seems that the fever is receding.

He is once again a happy blur. At least for now.

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Blogger Kerry said...

:( Poor Erik! I hope he feels better soon. How cool that he could tell you why he was crying~

Our neighbor had golf carts too and Michael and their daughter Hannah would zip everywhere for years and years. Sadly, they are also dead and the kids are old now, they wouldn't be able to share the front seat anymore.

4:59 PM  
Anonymous Auntie Cinnamon~ said...

I am so happy to hear that Erik is feeling better... Brayden has been sick but now on the mend and I guess Brogan has decided it is his turn... he puked in my truck this afternoon while car-pooling for school and now has a fever! I guess all three boys know they are going to see each other soon, so they better be sick now and not later! Ha!!!

Miss ya girl!

Always a treat when we get to chat on the phone like we did today!!!

9:14 PM  
Blogger Leesa said...

I nearly cried when I read Erik's quote: "I am crying because I am sad!"

Well, now come the waterworks. Must be close to .... Poor Erik.

9:21 PM  
Blogger Noel said...

I hope that Erik gets to feeling back to himself.
I am impressed that he told you he was sad! I am also impressed that you carried him that far!!

6:20 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

Erik definitely knows how to hold a grudge. I don't know what to call it, great memory, sensitivity, stubborness or what? I mean Av gets pissed, but I can usually charm my way out of it and distract her. I am sorry he is so sick, but me thinks it sounds slightly less chaotic than usual.

10:02 AM  
Blogger Kerry said...

Oh my! I just read that I wrote, "Sadly, they are also dead" and I KNOW you know I am talking about the golf carts, but it looked really weird when I just reread it! Jeesh, I need sleep, or chocolate.

10:28 AM  
Blogger Tes said...

poor guy! but good for mommy still can love on him in his tylenol haze. I hope he feels better soon.

12:53 PM  
Blogger Ava Jewel Leilani said...

I hope he feels better. I can't believe he was able to tell you why he was crying!

8:31 PM  

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