by Ebony Marie Coward

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Of the things I wanted most for my child I neglected to place Acceptance as high on the list as a fully developed brain.  He was born seven weeks early and when I saw that he was in fact the healthiest preemie in the neo-natal ICU, I sighed relief, as I was the only mother fortunate enough to hold a wireless child. 

I’m watching my son play after school, and he’s playing alone.  It’s not the first time, though it’s better since he transferred schools.  Now he only plays alone for a little while. Some children don’t get him.  He makes noises and strange faces.  He can’t sit still and he spaces out.  His behaviors have earned him seven years of inconclusive diagnoses.  His grades are good.  He’s an artist with the potential to be an athlete.  He is a handsome child.  So, he will be employed.  He will be able to throw the football around with the guys.  And women will take him to bed.  So I shouldn’t worry too much that the children he calls friends appear to give their parents more to worry about.

I see this boy approach my son to play.  I’ve seen this boy before and he is so strange.  But my son is smiling as they scream and chase each other over the playground.  And then another boy, strange like the other joins in the chase and now my son – the tallest and the surest of the three – has taken on the role of the chaser, allowing these strange boys to run so sloppily and joyfully.  It’s a little Christ-like I think.  Jesus made friends of the whores and the lepers and the short man that no one liked. 

Jesus, the king of the Jews.

Seth, the king of the children defined by acronyms.

Ebony Marie Coward is a writer and filmmaker.  She studied writing and film at the School of the Art Institute in her hometown, Chicago.  She is also the mother of thirteen year old Seth, an artist she says we’ll soon be hearing about.

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