the gift

Every year, on my birthday, I check to make sure it’s still there.

Every year, it is, and my heart is both torn and comforted.
It was the first thing I ever knew, and over the years has become a part of me. I think that without it, I would be lost.

Every year, for my birthday, I take it, wrap it up in pretty paper, and give it back to her, but I could do that a thousand times and it would still be here inside of me. It makes me who I am… but I do wonder what it would be like if it were gone.

Inside is the very first thing I was ever given, and something I carry with me even today. Even more today.

I didn’t have any words to voice what I felt, couldn’t make sense of it as the heartbeat and smell and warmth that let me feel that I would be safe was ripped away and I was torn out of the arms that for fifteen minutes kept the cold of the world away forever.

I would take it out, put it in a small box, wrap it up in pretty paper and hand it to her. Inside is something bigger than she is or can ever be, but something that over years and years made me stronger than I ever could have otherwise been. It takes a lot to hold the pieces together for so long.

She would open it up every year on my birthday.
Inside would be the baby’s pain.

answers

This is what it has come to. this is what needs to be done – and I’m fucking terrified… but I can’t let that stop me.

Dressed, drinking my mate’, a smoothie, taking all the herbs and trying to breathe. Trying not to think of what I will say, and trusting that the right words will come. The heart can’t be scripted.

It’s been set up, arranged, the best possibility of a time to catch her at home… and it’s happening.
A friend is driving down from Sacramento, grabbing my ass, and then we make the 2.5 hour trip up to Philo, where I surprise my mother on her doorstep.

I haven’t heard from her in over 10 months – I’ve left 30 or more messages, sent three letters… and still, no word from her.

What hurt the most was that there wasn’t even a birthday card sent. I mean fuck – I would have been fine if it were just completely void of words… just SOMETHING. Something… from her.
A heart-ripping contrast to only two years before, when she sent 7 birthday cards, each saying a little something.

I’m terrified… but this is something that needs to be done. The longer it sits inside of me, the more potent the poison becomes. All I want to know is one thing… why? What do you need? (Okay, two.)
Just… tell me to stay, or go away again… this time, forever. I’ll respect whatever you want. After all, saying goodbye was the very first thing you taught me, remember? Of course you do. It’s the very first thing I learned; having your smell, your heartbeat, your voice and everything that was peace & comfort ripped away from me as they took me from your arms.

You made me stronger than you realize, mom. I know what alone means better than most everyone – and I have done well.

I did the one thing I intended to do, which was live long enough to meet you.

I just didn’t expect you to be so wonderful.
I didn’t expect… to love you.

So, today, hopefully, something will be understood. I’ll do whatever you wish – just tell me.
I am, after & through it all – your first-born. I am your son… and even if I never see you again after today – I always will be.
At least nothing or no one can EVER take that away from me.

Not this time

I took them down today.

Each day as I sat at my computer desk, I looked up & there she was – there we were, smiling as if we had both won the impossible lottery & holding each other tight. It was the first time we had met, & I remember her thin fingers around me, her thin sinewy arms pulling me in tighter as if she was afraid to let me go again. Neither of us had a choice the first time she let go.
I was happy to stay, my arms saying the same things that hers did, never wanting to let go. This time, I had a choice. I had strength. We both had a choice.

Yet just as before, the choice needed to be made by both of us. It couldn’t work otherwise.

It has now been over 10 months since I last heard from her, and as the days & weeks progressed the images that I had of the first photos of us on nearly every wall in my apartment began to diminish in the joy they once brought me. My heart grew darker when I caught them in my gaze & I found myself quickly turning my eyes away if I happened to accidentally catch one in my sight.

This morning, I cleared my walls of any images of us. I wish I could say it was cleansing, that I felt better once it was done – but it only brought more anger & sorrow, raised the questions I still have again – the questions that were only met in silence… and I can’t help but wonder, just as I did every day as a child and nearly every day after that… what is wrong with me?
Perhaps something else I’ll never have the answer for…

all I know is that they never stay – but I always keep the pictures. This time however, I’m not fucking giving up so easily. Whatever may be wrong with me, I’m better than the way I’m being treated by her – and after searching for her for 25 years, after all I’ve been through – I deserve some goddamn answers.
If I had a car I would be on her doorstep within the next few days demanding them – I don’t give a fuck if it isn’t “fair” to her. She doesn’t get to pull this shit….. but as it is without a car, all I can do is send unanswered letters.
I fucking hate feeling helpless.

I then go online and the first thing I read is of David Bowie’s passing… and there is nothing left to say.

neat enough

It’s neat enough
clean enough, this precision at which I can remove myself
remove another
and make me not want
what I cannot have.

It is what I have been taught to do from my first breaths in this life.

The tragedy lies
where there might still be a possibility
where there might still be hope
but, as trained
my heart has already gone dark
and there is no more light to show you
the beauty it holds
and in my lie
I long for you

in silence and
sorrow
for what could have been