My son is none of your business.
For a decade and a half, even after holding him, even after watching him nurse, even after one night of rocking him to sleep… He’s been hers. Always hers.
He was her son, when I sat next to her on that bench, in Home, Pennsylvania. Her son, that I suddenly pictured her with. Her walking with him; him loping in that awkward four-year-old kind of way, down by the reflecting pool.
He was her son, when I sat outside that fucking emergency room in San Diego. Sat outside while his bigger sister lay on a damn table dying. While I held her cure. The same way I’d held his mother’s salvation in my fingers.
Her son. And how many more test tubes would I hold while she suffered the fate of knowing me?
My son is none of your business.
He’s been her son. And how many holidays did I sit there, and watch the world go by, before I even kissed her? How many time times did I drag her from one place to the next, over a Martin Luther King Day, or a Fourth of July? Days when she would be free from work and, if he existed, he’d be free from school, and they’d trudge out somewhere amongst the swamps of D.C. to investigate whatever forensic science would have them dig up.
Because her son? Her son is inquisitive, and curious, and a pain in the fucking ass. I know this.
After Home, I could see him. After San Diego, I could see her. After a cow came through my roof in Kroner, Kansas, I could see them both. All three of them, in fact. A little girl, a younger brother… Scully… a mother.
You want to know what I couldn’t see? Curled up on the edge of that mattress in a Kansas thunderstorm?
I couldn’t see me. I never could.
Chasing fucking monsters and ghosts and everything that dares to creep in the night. Never could see me. Uncle Spooky, they’d call me, and I would bring them a present or two at birthdays, at Christmas. Never Pops. Never, never, never Dad.
I held him, that first night home. He was pissed and Scully was tired. So, I held him. But I wasn’t a man, then. I was still chasing ghosts. When she convinced me to leave them, to hide, the argument was too easy.
When Skinner told me what happened, I wasn’t a man then, either. I had no say when she gave up her son. I cried like a bitch, into his shoulder. He’ll never tell.
And so even when she held me, in that god damn cell, he was her son. He’d always been. I jacked off into a jar for her son. I jacked off into her, for her son.
Years later, she came home from the hospital, anxious about a boy. A decade of loss between. And I held her, I mourned, because what else can you do? I was still a child, in so many ways. Still just an older brother. I might have been edging 50, but I hadn’t grown up yet.
“Our son,” I said, but he was still just ours. Hers, mostly, and somewhat mine.
She left me. There was a lot I couldn’t do for her, and some she couldn’t do for me, so she left and I hated her, but today? No, today I get it. I understand. She left me, for me. And now? Now I’m back.
It took years. It took running for twelve miles until I wanted to die in the reeds by our house.
It took collapsing under two hundred pounds of barbell, when I didn’t have someone to spot me.
But mostly, it took sitting in that quiet fucking house, with her gone. Looking at his picture. Looking at his picture and living with it. He’s not hers.
He’s not ours, even. He is but he isn’t.
William is my son.
And so, when that fucker has the audacity to bring up his name, I feel every day of that run, every day of those 200 hundred pounds, every god damn day ricochets through my fist into his mouth. He drops straight, arm out.
Turn and spit out the blood out from my mouth. He got me too, but I’m not nearly as hurt as him.
He’s unconscious at this point and I don’t care. Something has welled within me.
“My son… is none of your business.”