Sometimes I dream of my hypothetical son.
￼Heʼll jump on the bed, wake his Dad and me proclaiming itʼs his sixth birthday. Iʼll brush his dark brown hair from his forehead, kiss his cheeks with skin that turns a perfect caramel color when heʼs out in the sun too long, and thank him for reminding me.
He will miraculously appear that very morning.
Iʼll make him a chocolate cake, from scratch, then pipe ʻThomasʼ in robinʼs egg blue icing. As it cools, my son and his Dad will play a game of catch in the backyard. Afterwards our son will run his sweaty finger along the side of the bright white mixing bowl, and heʼll giggle as he licks it clean.
Weʼll take him bowling, where heʼll score a 300, and the whole alley will sing ʻHappy Birthdayʼ to my son right before he blows out the candles on his cake.
There will be water balloon fights, which his Dad will win, then my son and I will turn the garden hose on him. My son will gaze in wonderment as a rainbow stretches across the yard. Heʼll run through the rush of lukewarm water in an attempt to catch it, and refuse to come inside until the sun goes down. When we tuck him in to sleep Iʼll stay and read to him, about the greatest wizard in all of England.
“Is there really magic, Mommy?” Heʼll ask.
Iʼll grin, and whisper to him, making it a secret between us. “Yes, Thomas. Thatʼs how you got here.
When he gets the flu, Iʼll sleep with him every night in the hopes the virus will use me as itʼs host, and not my beloved.
Heʼll hold my hand when weʼre out in public, and ask me to hold on tighter if we come across a snake. The cold, slimy, slithering reptiles will be his only fear.
Then one day he wonʼt intertwine my fingers with his. He wonʼt ask me to kiss his scraped knees from climbing every tree he on the block. His body will stretch, as if made of taffy, and not every wish I ever had. There will be no time for enunciation, only mumbling. My sonʼs clothing wonʼt be neon colored and mismatched anymore, but dark and oversize. Heʼll only want to talk to me if he needs money, or advice about a girl.
Iʼll gaze at my son, the most perfect creature to grace planet Earth. Although Iʼll know that no girl will be worthy to breathe the same air, Iʼll say, “Treat her with respect, ask her questions, and make sure to meet her parents before you take her out.”
Heʼll grunt at me, and Iʼll throw an arm around him for one last embrace before heʼs completely lost to me. Heʼll reciprocate, if only for a moment, and Iʼll savor every millisecond of it. Then before he leaves the room Iʼll call out to his slouched frame, “And for Godʼs sake use a condom, Tom.”
And when I open my eyes, I will be at his wedding. Sheʼll claim to love him forever and a day. Iʼll scoff because no one will love him more than I-the woman that created him with her thoughts alone.
￼Then, heʼll really be gone.
My son will call and tell me that heʼs graduated law school, and medical school. Heʼll travel the world with his wife and twin girls, which will help him brush up on the five languages heʼs fluent in.
Heʼll return when my eyes are milky, skin tattered as crumpled wet newsprint, and a mind that has dulled like the crayons he used to draw with. Iʼll beg him to let me die in my own bed, like his Dad did years prior. This time heʼll be the one sleeping next to me, wrapping his long muscular arms around a shrunken, shivering woman that had once been so strong. Heʼll remind me of the wizardʼs mentor who said we shouldnʼt fear death. Heʼll tell me that I did everything right, and he only became the man he is because of me.
My ashes will be spread in the Atlantic Ocean, but no one will miss me. There will only be tears for Thomas, the greatest man who will ever live. The man who mysteriously faded into nothingness, because he existed only in my dreams.