Unexpected emergency this past October: a wasp stung Brendan on the underside of his right forearm, the soft tissue swelling up at the reaction. From my office in front of the house I heard him screaming in the back yard, traveling across the downstairs rooms— a shrill whistle of pain and fear. We both held him, running cold water over the bite, holding a cold compress on the swelling— and ran to the emergency clinic down the street. By the time we arrived, Bren was less frantic, more curious, scientific, asking questions about wasps and hornets and bees and needles— items with evil intentions, sharp bites of pain—
On the hospital bed he curled next to me, wanting to hold my hands, head propped against my shoulder. Valiant little soldier. Observant judge.