It isn’t the sound that I recall, but rather the reaction. I jumped upright from my deep sleep and was running before my feet hit the floor. I turned the corner into the dark nursery and saw that my wife, awake already after feeding Zane, had heeded the call before me. She sat with Atticus in her lap, rocking and soothing him. Trying to use the charms innate of motherhood to calm a child when only chaos seems possible.
His cries alone were not the concern. It was the cough that was intertwined within them that added that element. He was coughing and he couldn’t stop. He was crying and he couldn’t stop. The more he coughed the more he cried and the more he cried the more he coughed. At moments like that anxiety sets in and with it shortness of breath and a sense of urgency. We sat there in the dark and held our little boy until he could breathe a little easier and regain his composure.
I carried him to our bed, where Zane lay waiting- asleep and oblivious. Atticus curled himself against me and I held him tight as he too fell asleep to the slowing rhythms of his quivering body. My lips were resting lightly against the back of his neck and I could feel the heat rising from him, warming my face as it cooled his fears. Over the horizon created by the curve of his moonlit hair I could see the rise and fall of Zane breathing content and feeling safe. A tiny pebble nestled in innocence against the sheltering rock that is his mother. We lay there, the four of us, perhaps a cat or two forgotten somewhere among our feet and the dogs dreaming softly on the floor, and the house went silent once more, followed shortly by the fading echoes of my mind.