Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Angel Out of Her Box

There was a time when you cried for me. When all that was between us was the darkness of night, only to fall away when I came to you and held you to my breast. You were strong yet helpless. Your life depended on me.

Now it is I who cry for you. I am the one who wakes afraid in the night, seeking comfort, hope and soulful nourishment simply from your presence. I fight the urge to curl up in a ball and give in to the ache of unknowing or knowing, unsure of which is which.

It was up to me to kiss that boo boo on your knee, hold your small hand in mine and talk about faeries and princes. I took your belief in magic to heart. Everything was real, whether it truly was or not. I taught you to confront your fears. I assured you that the man with the blue face in the closet was not going to harm you; you would not accept that he wasn’t there; making friends or keeping him in line was the only solution.

We lived in that cold, cold house on Pleasant Street. Every night I climbed into your bed and we read stories together under that thick, pink comforter. I didn’t leave until your Popsicle toes didn’t make me jump when you brushed them against me, when I knew that you were warm enough.

I held you – a smaller version of me – close... simply because I could. Somehow protecting you protected me.

Just now you called me. I was in the middle of writing this. How did you know? I hadn’t heard from you since last Tuesday. A week is a month or more in uncertainty. I tried to call you, but your batteries were dead or you were out of minutes. For me, it’s sort of like music. I can’t play and I can’t not play. With you, I can’t know and I can’t not know.

I tried then to leave the blanks right where they were and not try filling them in with my ever rambling imagination. Thinking and thinking will eventually kill you if you’re not careful.

I was doing very well erasing and chasing away thoughts that have no validity. If I make things up, they are my creations. I don’t know what you are doing, where you are, or why. I gobble up your words like a beggar at a feast.

I now know that you are in Montgomery, Alabama. You laughed a little when you asked me if I knew that it was “Hank Williams Country,” even though you guessed that I could care less about him. There was a very slight chance that I knew something about Hank Williams, and you took that chance. I tried to care right when you mentioned it. I think I did a little. You had your photo taken beside his statue; I need to reexamine my loathing for Country and Western music. I suppose it was a little harsh that every time you and your brothers argued about music in the jeep, I threatened you with the Country music station. We all groaned; it worked.

You think for yourself. Always did. Even when your life depended on me, you were your own person. I liked that. No, I loved that. Still do. I encouraged and insisted upon it. So who can I blame when it comes right down to it? No one and everyone. I do it all the time.

You missed the lunar eclipse because you were on a train that took you to a paper mill in a nowhere town. But at least you didn’t miss the moon altogether.

You said that it wouldn’t work if I was sad, so I sort of promised you that I was winning that battle. It started when I took the angel out of her box. You said that she would watch over me. I’m holding you to that.

Yesterday I told the lady in the magic store that I would be back in the spring. I had no one to buy for this time.

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