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Well. That was awkward.

From the top.

Occasionally, especially around the holidays, I kinda-sorta-almost-not-really babysit this guy. You'll notice I said guy, not kid. He's actually four or five years older than me- which doesn't usually matter because he's got some mental thing that makes him act like someone younger. That's not why I watch him though. See, he's got cerebral palsy, and I guess it's illegal for his parents to leave him alone in the house (plus he freaks out when he's left alone).

-A little backstory would be in order here, I guess. Though you can skip this bit.-

I've known him for almost forever. We met when I was eight -oh God, eight? Really? Damn. He had it then too (I think it started up when he was around five, but I'm not sure. I never really asked). He and my little brother got on really well because they both watched the same cartoons and played the same videogames, and Tim let my sibs and I play the games they had set up for him in the multi-purpose room. Oh, probably should have mentioned. Tim is the son of the children's ministries' pastor. My mom used to work at the church, so we were over there all the freaking time, cooped up in the office section where people actually worked.

So yeah. Saw each other every Sunday for a decade, parents worked together, helped us through trying times. They're family now. (Actually, I think they might even be our legal Godparents, though I'd have to check).

The day after I turned eighteen, his mom (who is like all the best bits of a grandma, and aunt and a mother wrapped into one person) came up and asked me if I would watch him while she and her husband went to have dinner. They needed someone who was technically an adult to stay in the house with him. Of course I said yes. Everything went without hitch, nothing broke or exploded, and I got paid generously for my time (no matter how much I told them I didn't want their money). Thus began a long standing tradition of me kinda-almost-sorta-not-really babysitting.

-end of backstory-

So I watch him.

Today, I watched him. I went to his house at three thirty, and stayed until eleven PM because his folks were going to dinner and a concert with some other older people.

I gave him dinner. I got him all situated on his computer. I refilled his water bottles when he needed, and occasionally went in there to talk to him and help him pet his cat. Mostly, though, we settled each at out own computers (him in his room, mine out in the living room).

Then the awkward thing happened.

Tim (on the intercom): Uhm. Zephronias?
Me: Yeah, Tim?
Tim: It slipped.
Me: Eh?
Tim: . . . It slipped off.
Me, still not getting it: What slipped?
Tim: Can you come here?

So I did. Part of the way Tim thinks is he always skips steps. Not in his head -I'm sure it all makes perfect sense in his head, but he sometimes goes off on his trains of thought and leaves everyone else behind. Usually in the middle of a conversation. So I'm used to not quite knowing what he's talking about some of the time.

I go in there, and after a few minutes of a conversation roughly equaling out to: "It slipped. When are my parents getting home?" "Not 'till eleven. What slipped?" He finally makes an agitated 'gah!' sound and looks pointedly down at his lap.

Me, as realization hits: Oh, crap.
Him: Yeah.

His catheter had slipped off. Or out. Or whatever.

I love Tim. He's like my brother/cousin. I love his mother. She's like my aunt/grandmother. I love his father. He's like my stodgy grandpa/stodgy uncle.

I am, however, not qualified to deal with that kind of thing.

"No," I said.

"I know," he said, thoroughly embarrassed. "What do I do?"

"Well, do you have to go right now? Can you wait?"

"Well I'm going to have to now, aren't I?!"

He wasn't actually that coherent. By then the hair-trigger temper of his had gone off and he'd started shouting half garbled swears and was cursing the obviously incompetent makers of catheters and their shoddy product. But, yes, he could wait.

I called his parents, but got the message system on both of them. They'd either left them silent for the show, or they'd left them in the car. We were on out own with this.

"I'm sorry," I said. "You really are just going to have to hold it."

And he did. The rest of the night went by very awkwardly, but otherwise problem free. Well, KFC forgot his corn on the cob, which got a quick temper tantrum out of him, but other than that, we were gold. His folks came home (their phones had, indeed, been silenced), I informed them of the problem(for which they apologized for profusely), and I went home.

But still. That one, horrible moment. The one minute of hanging silence between us when I absorbed what he'd just said, what it meant, and what I -as the responsible one in the house-was going to do about it. I was terribly, scarringly afraid.

I think this means I am not a good caretaker.

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