He can't breath. His mouth is open and his eyes are tight squeezed and agony pours from him in rivers but he can't make a sound. His brother sneaks in behind him as I pull him against me and try to hush the heaving and get to the reason. "It was ballet gone bad," I'm told. "He was twirling and twirling and he lost control and fell."
The skin of his side is rent down to a gauzy sheer, such thin derma left from this dancing assault. Blood swells beneath and oozes out in small bubbles where it can find passage through the dam - as fine as pantyhose.
He finds his breath but there is fire on his flank and his pain is a cacophony of sobbing and snot.
I guide him downstairs and tend his wound with mother-fingers and Transformers bandages and I take him back to his bed and tuck him in and whisper my love and how maybe ballet isn't in his future.
Not ten minutes later, brother and sister already sound asleep, he creeps along the groaning stairs to find me on the couch and he tucks himself under my arm and leans his head against my chest and cries into my sweatshirt until his own sleep steals the pain of the bedtime dancing.