I need you. three words. eight letters. one breath. That’s all I had the energy or the courage to let out. And in that moment, that one tiny utterance - an almost inaudible confession - was enough to set the wheels of human connection in motion. The anxiety, the fear, the sorrow and the guilt, that had painstakingly ambushed and ruthlessly sabotaged every single attempt to break free; to touch, were somehow nowhere to be seen or heard. Perhaps they’d found another weary soul to bully for the day? Or perhaps my three words were sincere enough and real enough to transform once debilitating pain into choice; a will so determined, leaving no room for anything or anyone to interfere.
In retrospect, it really doesn’t matter why or how the thoughts stopped racing or why my heart stopped pacing up and down the halls of ridicule and opposition, because the breath I had been holding for 33 years had finally been released and the light shining brightly from beneath the door of acceptance was about fill my dark, empty room.
All it took was 3 words and she arrived at my front front door. But more. She arrived by my side. And I knew then and there, now that I’d made that call, that I could no longer hide. And for the first time I didn’t want to either. I wanted to run out into the snow, barefoot, hair hanging down onto my back, and twirl and twirl under the winter sun until I laughed so hard that I could barely keep myself from falling back into the corner of our basement where Barbie lived in lace-lined gowns, safe from sounds a seven year old should never hear. I wanted to close my eyes, and fall into harmony with Olivia Newton John, singing like only an eight year old with unbroken dreams can sing. I wanted to build a future with legos, risk breaking an arm - or worse - a heart, to greet the teenage boy who delivered the paper on Thursdays, down at the front door, and I wanted to chase the Dickey Dee’s hypnotic melody down the street on hot and not so hot days.
I opened the door. Somehow she knew. I knew she knew because she was alone; she’d left all judgement behind. She walked inside my walls and didn’t speak or smile or even look my way. In silence we embraced. A distorted memory of a bond once strong started to unveil itself as I began to explore a woman I’d never really understood. And in that moment, without thought, I vowed never to stray again.
We sat and shared tea and tears. She didn’t ask questions and I didn’t answer them. Only a mother can know without really knowing. Only a mother’s love is ever truly unconditional enough to allow you to feel no shame even while standing completely bare, and deep enough to reach far beneath the surface into the crevices of terrifying darkness to shine light onto dreams untold. Only a mother’s commitment is sincere enough to be able to bear the pain of truths that reopen and reinfect wounds of war. And only a mother’s brave limbs can hold you still long enough to make you feel alive once more. She can see into your soul and not want to disappear. And although she may be just as destroyed as you, she will never burden you with her own fears. At least not while you’re re-learning how to fly on your own.
I am grateful for this pain. A pain mistaken for a mind gone mad. And had I only listened to the pleas of the brown-eyed girl, with soft black curls, I’d have opened the door a lot sooner. But alas, who am I to complain about the path paved with perfection for me?