"Mama, help," he said.
I was washing dishes, up to my elbows in soap suds, when I turned to look.
The chord from the blinds was wrapped tightly around his neck.
I must have looked panicked because he said,
"It's okay. I can breathe."
The next thing I knew, I was kneeling in front of him unwinding the chord and sobbing.
He looked confused and worried. I'm pretty sure he's never seen me react quite that way.
I tried to pull him in close after I got the chord off but he wouldn't let me. He was busy concentrating on my face.
I kept repeating,
"Please don't ever do that... please don't ever do that again."
The Mayor pushed me gently back and put his hands around my face.
"What is it, Mama? Why are you crying?"
I tried to explain that he could get hurt and that he should never wrap anything around his neck but my crying had frightened him and I don't think he could connect my reaction to my words.
"Are you mad at The Mayor?" The Rooster asked.
She was also startled and looking at me curiously.
Hell, even I was a little startled by my extremely emotional response.
"No, Roo. I'm not mad at him. I just got scared. That SCARED me," I told them, still crying.
Something about the possibility of The Mayor strangling himself coupled with the visual image of him trapped in the chord rendered me instantly hysterical.
It was so visceral, so instantaneous.
"Promise that you won't tell Daddy," The Mayor begged.
I agreed not to tell, but later I asked him about this request.
"Why don't you want me to tell Dad, Mayor? Are you afraid he'll be angry and you'll get in trouble?"
The Mayor shook his head.
"No, mom. I'm worried that it will make him as sad as it made you."
He looked at me and seemed so completely earnest.
"I don't want there to be anymore crying in our family."