Pacific
by Trevor J. Houser

I have children. In the gray mists north of Seattle I have them. I have one child who is doing all the things. She does all of them. Brains. Looks. Cartwheels that spit in the face of gravity. Those things where you know she will do well and don’t have to worry about her. I drink wine on the porch and feel so proud. Sunlight through the mist and mossy trees. Feeling like life makes sense. Do you know that feeling? I have another child who might die. No one is sure. So many children die. But this is my child so it’s different. He has a rare brain disease. Like so rare if you say it in most hospitals they look at you with eyes that are kind but vacant, like a trout’s eyes as you lower it back it into a cold spring stream. I sit on street corners. I sit there and look at mountains or apartment buildings between me and the mountains. I sit there and look at cars and houses and lawnmowers with icicles on them. My wife and I spoke to the doctors and they laughed. We all tried to laugh. We all tried to make it like it was something we could control. It was something humans had power over, like the stock market or electronica. It was something that didn’t make you want to go back in time to when the world was saturated and beautiful and untouched. That was a different person. That was a person putting a little blue sweater on this boy. He hated hats. He hated putting on shoes. He hated so many things. He would go to the doctor and laugh. He would look at nurses and make jokes and run up and down the halls and they would laugh. Bells. Stars. Planets go by. He was underneath all of that and he showed God what it meant. God probably looked down. God would look down, I’m sure. God watched him and his rare diseased brain that was so rare and diseased his pediatrician had never heard of it. I cried over the sink eating an avocado. It was an old avocado that I ate still in its cling wrap as more clouds formed above our small, lumpy yard. I was eating the avocado and looking out at our yard, the mysterious lumps, the sky, the trees. I just sort of smooshed half the avocado into my mouth, thinking of my son. His brain has blood vessels that are too large. His small heart. His small heart is so small. I could become important. I could drive a speedboat over an iceberg with the Dave Matthews Band playing on the prow and nothing would change. I could become a Navy Seal, the best ever, and his brain would still have too much blood inside it. Those vessels would still be enlarged. His eyes would still widen as we watch some muted game show on the TV that’s bolted to the wall surrounded by other children facing the possibility of death. His brain would still expand. Maybe it already has. On Sundays we play Captain America. He has the pajamas with the stars and stripes. He runs so fast and jumps nearly over the bed. He ran and jumped on the bed and he made this noise that wasn’t a scream, but had the same energy of a scream. He made noise. He jumped and laughed.

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Pacific
by Trevor J. Houser

I have children. In the gray mists north of Seattle I have them. I have one child who is doing all the things. She does all of them. Brains. Looks. Cartwheels that spit in the face of gravity. Those things where you know she will do well and don’t have to worry about her. I drink wine on the porch and feel so proud. Sunlight through the mist and mossy trees. Feeling like life makes sense. Do you know that feeling? I have another child who might die. No one is sure. So many children die. But this is my child so it’s different. He has a rare brain disease. Like so rare if you say it in most hospitals they look at you with eyes that are kind but vacant, like a trout’s eyes as you lower it back it into a cold spring stream. I sit on street corners. I sit there and look at mountains or apartment buildings between me and the mountains. I sit there and look at cars and houses and lawnmowers with icicles on them. My wife and I spoke to the doctors and they laughed. We all tried to laugh. We all tried to make it like it was something we could control. It was something humans had power over, like the stock market or electronica. It was something that didn’t make you want to go back in time to when the world was saturated and beautiful and untouched. That was a different person. That was a person putting a little blue sweater on this boy. He hated hats. He hated putting on shoes. He hated so many things. He would go to the doctor and laugh. He would look at nurses and make jokes and run up and down the halls and they would laugh. Bells. Stars. Planets go by. He was underneath all of that and he showed God what it meant. God probably looked down. God would look down, I’m sure. God watched him and his rare diseased brain that was so rare and diseased his pediatrician had never heard of it. I cried over the sink eating an avocado. It was an old avocado that I ate still in its cling wrap as more clouds formed above our small, lumpy yard. I was eating the avocado and looking out at our yard, the mysterious lumps, the sky, the trees. I just sort of smooshed half the avocado into my mouth, thinking of my son. His brain has blood vessels that are too large. His small heart. His small heart is so small. I could become important. I could drive a speedboat over an iceberg with the Dave Matthews Band playing on the prow and nothing would change. I could become a Navy Seal, the best ever, and his brain would still have too much blood inside it. Those vessels would still be enlarged. His eyes would still widen as we watch some muted game show on the TV that’s bolted to the wall surrounded by other children facing the possibility of death. His brain would still expand. Maybe it already has. On Sundays we play Captain America. He has the pajamas with the stars and stripes. He runs so fast and jumps nearly over the bed. He ran and jumped on the bed and he made this noise that wasn’t a scream, but had the same energy of a scream. He made noise. He jumped and laughed.

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Trevor J. Houser is six-feet and 1/4 inch tall and has short brown hair. Before he was born somewhere in Oregon, his family chopped trees and invested in Boeing for a living. One of his grandfathers who did not chop trees and invest in Boeing for a living climbed mountains and lost his thumb. Trevor was once a private investigator and drove a gas truck in Mexico. He semi-recently finished a novel about advertising and how some people are allergic to redemption. His stories have been published in Story Quarterly, Zyzzyva, and Pindeldyboz, among others. He is an advertising copywriter and lives with his family in Seattle.