Corb started hunting around his wallet at the check-out counter of the Stop & Grab, slightly frantic. "Where's all the cash I had in here?" he asked.
"You gave it to me, remember? You insisted after the surgery that I use it to pay for your meds."
Corb looked at me and shook his head. "The thing that freaks me out is the not remembering," he said.
"Oh really?" I asked, amused. "Even worse than all the bleeding? The swelling of the gums? Not being able to eat solid foods for a week?"
"Well, there is that, and it does totally suck," he said. "But I hate that I can't remember things that happened until, like, two hours after they put me under. You totally could have done anything to me. Taken all my money, I never would have known."
"That reminds me," I said. "Don't look in your bank account for a few days, okay? I need to move a few things to Switzerland."
After Corb was taken out of surgery, I walked him to my car and drove him home. He was clearly dazed during the ride. He kept trying to touch his bloody lower lip, and he'd mumble stuff, with a mouth full of gauze, and I'd be damned if I could figure out what he was trying to say. There was one word that was driving me nuts, and he kept repeating it. Finally, he took his iPhone out and typed it.
I was confused at first, and then, it came to me. "Oh, moisture!" I said, pleased with myself. "You want something to drink! But you can't, sweetie, until the bleeding has stopped."
He returned to touching his lip. Then, he started to feel weird about his lips, and tried to hide the lower half of his face with his scarf. He spent most of the ride home adjusting it, as if he were Michael Jackson with a surgical mask.
But he doesn't remember any of it. Walking up the three flights of stairs to our apartment, not a bit. Laying in bed and hand writing messages to me, not a second of it. ashes saying he looked like a Special Needs student, not at all. Asking to strangle Ashes, nope.
I guess in some ways, what freaked me out about the experience was that it gave me a glimpse of what Corb will be like in old age. I guess there's a value to elective surgery...those hours after your time in the operating theater are merely dress rehearsals for the shadows that fall upon all of us, eventually. I didn't like seeing Corb that way. However, I'm awfully glad I was right there, by his side.
"Ashes, did you even think before you put down these answers?" I asked, glancing over her homework sheet.
"Of course," she said, lying her ass off. "I put my heart into everything I do, dad."
"Oh, really," I asked. She was working on a "fill in the blanks" worksheet that was paraphrasing scenes from Romeo and Juliet. "So, you really think this should read, 'You're like a baby with new TEETH, told that he can't USE them?'"
Ashes just sat there, grinning at me.
"So, let me get this straight. You're a baby, you have these new teeth. You want to use them for something, but you're told you can't? How cruel is that!"
A revelation. "Oh!" she said. "Could it be TOYS?"
"Ya think? Or how about this one, 'Once your LAWYERS solve your LOVE, you can return.' What does that even mean?"
"It's kind of like Mad Libs," grinned Ashes.
I glared at her. "No it's not. It's homework."
"She never reads our homework, anyway," grumbled Ashes. "It really doesn't matter what I write."
Even if it's true, I don't care. I'm not letting Ashes cover her pages with crap she pulled out of her butt, just to finish the assignment. My father is a school principal, my grandfather a professor. I may not be in education, but I think it has to be in my genes...that's just not acceptable.
Very worried about Ashes' attitude toward school lately...not sure what to do about it, either. But I do have to admit, I found the teeth response pretty funny.