“Did I offer peace today?”
Story of my life. Head denser than bullet-proof glass and just as stubborn. How many times was I up to now, on this particular mistake?
Oh, probably six or seven, if I’d counted right. More if I hadn’t.
Before you get the wrong idea, let me say 1) I am not a thief and 2) … well I’ll get to two when it comes necessary. I was raised on truth and respect and justice, but none of them stuck, much to my parents dismay.
It is more fun to be a rogue. Rogues can do most anything without being called on their actions. Those bright, honest, citizens walk the taunt line of respectability, terrified to step to one side or another. I just jiggle and juggle between them, jounce here, hip-check there, tweak to a bottom.
Smart as I am, I just wasn’t smart enough. I called home. I didn’t mean to, I didn’t set out to, but my fingers just pushed the right buttons and I was afraid to hang up.
Magges answered. “Hello?”
I remained silent, frozen more like, heart crashing into the bars of my ribs like tides on rocks. Maggie. It was then the reality hit me. I would never see Maggie again, nor the kids, the dog, cat or fish.
In the background, the dog sneezed, dishes clattering – dinner – the magpie chatter of the kids.
“Quiet,” Maggie shouted, “Off to baths all of you.”
Speaking of mistakes…
“Kevin?” Maggs asked, voice hushed. “Is that you?”
I said nothing.
“Kev?” Dropped to a whisper. Tears in her voice. “Oh, Kevin, why? Couldn’t you have listened for once?”
My stubborn head again. I opened my mouth, but nothing came, not even, ‘I’m sorry.’ I hung up.
Goodby, Maggs. Maybe one day I can come home. For real. For ever.
Mostly, my brain jiggles…
And so we finally come to number 2….
“Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see.”
― C.S. Lewis
“Don’t grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form.”
“Happiness is waking up, looking at the clock and finding that you still have two hours left to sleep.”
― Charles M. Schulz
Sometimes the most powerful words are the ones you’re still searching for.
Stephanie Kallos – Language Arts
Not sure if this a quote from the book or a blurb from the back, but either way it works for me.
I lie here wondering why, once again, I can’t sleep. I go in endless concentric circles, forbidden sleep by some force within my own mind until I’m so exhausted, day after day, I can’t stay awake and then, sleeping at the drop of a hat. Somehow, there must be a middle ground. I used to live on the middle ground. Bed by 8 pm every night, up in the morning, and over the first few months my sleeping gradually reverted back to normal. All the sleep lost over the years made right.
Which lasted until about….towards the end of the marriage and the struggle afterwards. Back to square one.
But wait. That’s not what this post is about, not really. I’m pretending, hiding, avoiding the reality that thirty-five minutes ago the clock clicked to 12:01 am and now it is June 7th, my mother’s birthday. The first birthday without her. No searching for the perfect present or baking cakes, finding the sweet treats she liked the most. My family is small. Celebrations are almost always meals, mostly at my parent’s house.
But there will be no meal this year. No one will gather, bustling in with gift bags and coolers full of food. There will be no gathering around the kitchen for the blessing, no filling plates from the counter between the kitchen and dining room. No bright paper. No candles. No laughter.
All my life, I tried to imagine what it would feel like to be without her, trying in my childish and then less than childish way to prepare myself for the dreadful moment I knew would eventually arrive. But no amount of preparations, no years of illness or the knowledge of what was to come, could possibly have prepared me for the reality of her emptiness. It couldn’t prepare any of us.
No balloons. No cards. Just sadness. Working later today. Needing to come home and accomplish something, anything, to keep from wasting away the hours of the day, minutes ticking like raindrops on glass. Each minute another tear. Each second another loss. Each tick or tock the feeling of being utterly alone in the thick dark when most children cry for their mother. I can only cry after. There is no more crying for her to come.
I would like to say there is a glaring riff in my soul, a chunk torn from my heart so large that it will never heal. That would be poetically beautiful, show me as the brave heroine standing fast against the pain. But I can’t. I don’t have a riff, just the tick tock of minutes moving me further and further away from the woman who showed me, both by example and by my refusing her example, how to be the person I have become in a world in which she has finally, inevitably, left me behind.