An Imaginary Dialogue with My Son / No. 7
‘Wow, this one is impressive,’ says Cameron. We’re standing side by side, and we’re both looking up at the mammoth structure before us.
‘It's a spiral shell. I love that the sides have been opened up.’
‘What do you think is at the top, mum?’
‘I'm guessing an amazing view.’
Cameron chuckles. I glance over at him and manage to catch the exact moment his eyes light up. ‘Let me guess…you want to climb up to the top, don’t you?’ I say with a grin.
Cameron laughs again. ‘Do you want to go first?’
‘No, you first. That way, if I slip and fall, I won’t bring you down with me.’
‘You’ll be fine, mum.’
He steps onto the shell, turns around, and offers me his right hand. Without a second thought, I take hold of it and follow him onto the shell. How is it that he’s so grown up? All of a sudden, I realise that I was wondering precisely the same thing about Lewis the other night.
‘Mum, look over there…’
The shell slopes up to our right, creating a curved wall, much like a skateboard ramp. Dotted along the wall are a number of raised shapes, creating a haphazard—but attractive—pattern.
We both move closer to examine the shapes. Cameron's eyes light up again as he makes the connection. ‘It's the same pattern that we saw on the other one the first time we met!’
‘It definite looks like it. Remember how that shell also had one dominant spiral?’
‘Like an alpha spiral.’
‘I hadn’t thought of it like that, but yes!’
We continue our expedition, with Cameron walking ahead of me. The surface underneath our feet is smooth, but not as slippery as I feared.
‘Can I ask you something, mum?’ asks Cameron, without turning around.
‘Of course, darling…’
‘What colour hair do the other boys have?’
His question echoes off the wall of the shell, sounding doubly salient and significant. I wonder how long he’s been thinking about this.
‘Well, you have the blackest hair. Gus’ hair is almost black. Pete’s hair is black-brown. Jamie has blondish brown hair—although when he was a baby, his hair was completely blond. Bear’s hair is sometimes ginger, sometimes brown, and sometimes dark blond, depending on the light. And little Lewis—he has light brown hair.’
I look up and see that the spirals have disappeared; instead, the wall is covered with grains of sand and tiny fragments of shell.
‘So everyone is pretty different?’
‘Very much so…’
‘What about dad?’
‘He has light blondish brown hair, somewhere between Jamie’s colour and Lewis’ colour. His beard, however, is ginger—that’s where Bear gets it from. Now that I think about it, it’s pretty cool that three of you have hair like dad and three of you have hair like me…’
Cameron turns around, and our eyes meet. He doesn’t say anything, but I can guess what he is thinking.
‘When I look at you, I see the other boys in you. I see them in the way your eyes light up, I see them in the way you walk and move about, and I see them every time you laugh or smile. You are all so similar in so many ways, and yet so different in a thousand other ways. It’s just so amazing.’
Cameron smiles. ‘Do you have any brothers or sisters, mum?’
‘No, I’m an only child. I didn’t really mind it, but I do remember feeling envious of my friends, most of whom had siblings. I always remind the boys how fortunate they are to have each other and how they should never take for granted that they get to be together…’
My voice breaks off, and I realise I am about to cry. Cameron offers me his hand again, and I take it. ‘I know what you’re thinking, mum. And I understand. But, God willing, I will meet them one day and, you know, we will be together then…’
I wipe my eyes with the back of my hand, and smile. ‘Let’s keep going. I know you want to get to the top. I think we’re almost there.’
Moments later, we are there. Cameron’s eyes light up once more as he takes in the view. Finally, he looks at me and grins.
‘I love you, mum. I’m glad my hair is black like yours…’
You can read the other posts in this series here.