This is also, by extension, the tale of two friends, Renée and Melissa, and of two families, the Halls and the Bradfords, and of two freak events that yanked all of the above onto two different but similar, unforeseen and shadowy trajectories. The tale tells how such yanking might dislocate some joints, but how it can also make a tongue-and-groove tightness which locks parents to children, friends to friends, and families to families. Mostly, it’s a tale about how the invisible and visible realms—we’ll call them heaven and earth—are sealed to each other. Indeed, the two are one.
Let me first introduce Big Parker. He is mine. He is the handsome boy with eyes the color of the water he’s dogpaddling in. On July 20th , 2007 he was eighteen years and five months old to the day. He was also lying in a coma in an Idaho Medical Center with the French name, Port Neuf. He’d been trying repeatedly to free a college classmate from a hidden whirlpool in a rural irrigation canal, and in the end he wasn’t able to get out himself. The next morning there was no remaining brain activity. He was removed from life-support. A week from the very hour of his death, we buried his Big Parker body in a dark, narrow groove of earth.
Little Parker, (or Petit Parker or “P.J.” for Parker John), is Renée’s. He is the cherub on the red velvet throne. He and his twin sister, Penelope, were conceived a few short months after Big Parker’s funeral, which Renée attended. She’d flown to Utah from her home in Paris, which is where we Halls and Bradfords lived and loved each other and where strapping Big Parker had been the Hall’s enthusiastic home teacher with his dad-partner, Randall. For their visits, the two always rode across town together on Randall’s Vespa, and the Halls always gave Parker love-in-a-can: real, chilled, imported Dr. Pepper.