“Come here Dmitri! Come here quick!”
Dmitri responds to his calling and moves sluggishly towards its origin. In the dining room adjacent to the hallway, he sees his mom struggling to hold his dad from falling.
His dad is clutching tightly at his chest. Teeth-gritted and eyes-closed. The white walls seem extra yellow today. Smoke from the barbecue seems to blur vision and induce tears, for his mom seems to be crying. She’s calling for him from behind his dad, asking for some more support.
“I think he’s having a heart-attack Dmitri! Help me hold him.”
“What are you doing you lazy boy? Can’t you hear me?”
Dmitri stood erect. His mouth half-open, with drool wetting it’s corners. The autistic kid’s eyes shuttled between his mom and dad. He had lost feeling in his legs and his upper body felt imbalanced. An expression of worry dawns on his face, as if to say,
“Don’t be mad mommy. I’m being a good boy.”
His mother’s struggles to keep his dad up continue. She teeters under his weight. But heavier was the certainty of her husband’s impending death. As his dad slowly slips away into the realms of the unconscious, his mom’s anxiety escalates. She screams at the top of her lungs now,
“Call 911 Dmitri! Just do this one thing, you dumb boy! What are you looking at me for?”
“Go call Dmitri!”
He still doesn’t budge. His dad is completely unconscious now, with no visible signs of breathing. She feels her own heart skip a beat as her husband, limp and lifeless, slowly sinks to the ground. Like water in a dam, tears freeze in her eyes, ready to flood through the gates. Her mouth flies open with incredulity, the futility of her attempts not yet registering. She shoots a stunned look at her son who still seemed befuddled.
“He could’ve been alive Dmitri. He could’ve been alive!! Oh, how do I explain it to you, you dimwit! How? How?? “, she sobs.
Dmitri plays a silent witness to her trauma. His countenance still imbued with poignance. The pathetic expression on his face, which maternal instincts usually cause her to interpret as stark innocence, infuriated her. Feelings of sadness and pity had been replaced with fear and disgust.
He remained oblivious to her ephemeral change of heart. His unsuspecting, petulant nature forever craving for her affection. He finally mustered the courage to speak to his, so obviously upset, mother.
“But I’ve been a good-boy all week mommy. A good-boy all week!”
He says, sobbing, unintelligible. He runs back into his room, still not getting why his mommy is so mad at him and why his daddy is having difficulty sleeping on the floor.