Thursday, March 17, 2011

To the 6 ft man in the blue columbia jacket

and dark blond hair just long enough to prove it curls: I hope you weren't too nonplussed by the middle aged lady staring at you on Park Avenue yesterday. You reminded me of someone, so much that I had to force myself not to walk over to you. For a few minutes it was hard to convince myself you weren't him. Somewhere in my head, you were. So real that I could feel him walking across the street and coming up behind me, a little put off that I hadn't come to his side of the street. But I turned and it was a whole different person. I know it wasn't real. But still. I thought of all the times after he left to go live with his father, that we would run into each other on the street, or rather, I would only see him because he was standing in front of me saying, "Mom? Mom!" as if I were the one who had left him. He wrote it off to my nearsightedness; but I think it was a defense mechanism. Don't see the angry boy. Don't see the angry boy. And he would chide me a little for not noticing him, then chat with me as if he had never hated me. As if he loved me with all his heart and had no idea how he'd ripped me apart by choosing his father's flattery, bribes, and lies over me. Me not perfect, but better than being bought at 13. I understood. I did. Fathers hold most of the cards for 13 year old boys.
They sent his driver's license renewal in the mail. I opened it, half curious. What, I wonder, is the use of an eye test for someone who no longer has eyes? Organ donor selection for someone whose organs were so full of poison even the hospital didn't want them, and at any rate, gone to dust now. To anyone else this piece of mail is just another boring form to fill out, but for me it's the latest reminder that the loss that shattered my life down to the roots didn't register with the rest of the world.


  1. Don't mean to intrude but I've meant to mention this before and now seems an even more appropriate moment. Find a copy of David Foster Wallace's commencement address to Kenyon's graduating class of 2005. It's all over the place. Don't read any of the annotated versions, they're just exercises in academic hubris, just find the text. Think of you often.

  2. Thanks. Like DFW, haven't read much yet. I'll find it. Think of you, too.


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