Once in awhile someone will ask if we still talk, " Oh no", I tell them and they shake their heads in disbelief. But in truth, I do still, from time to time, talk to you from afar. I look at the Gumbygirl and ask you if you can comprehend what you are missing. That the similarities between the little one and her mother would be enough to break your heart, if you knew. But then I wonder, not it a flippant or sarcastic way, if you still have a heart to break.
I watched the oldest going off to work today, ponytail, swinging just so. She looked so much like her third grade self, only twenty years later and today, instead of backpack, she carried her lunch and nursing shoes and a secret new life, growing inside her. This is something I would have told you when I handed you your dinner, I would have said," Hon, you should have seen her today, so mature, so beautiful as she walked away. But you know what? I could still see exactly her eight year old self too." And you might not have looked up from your over-buttered potato; you probably would not have. You would not have taken your eyes off TV, that I know for certain. Such a cliche our lives were.
The days are closing in when the youngest and I will have no place of our own. I will not have a nest for the others and their families to visit. I know how happy that will make you, because it is after all, all I have, their visits to my hearth, their fingerprints on my heart. But the fingerprints are mine to keep.
I finally found a place willing to give me a job. Take a chance on an oldie out of the workforce for too long. Couple the bad economy with no experience and add my liver spots and gray hair apparent, and it isn't a surprise that I have to be grateful to have even this. You would mock it. Shake your head in disgust and say, "That's God damn ridiculous. A sixteen year old can make more than that at McDonalds." I imagine myself now, the new me, snapping back. " Do you think I would choose to make so little?"
I am not very good with math, this we both know, but I do know enough to understand that something is better than nothing. At this place, I am paid in praise, it is really true that the amount I earn could not keep a bird alive. That's my moms expression, do you remember? Of course you do not. There isn't room in your new life for clutter like that.
But this job gives me a place to go, where someone expects me to show up and counts on me to fax and file, fax and file. I might learn something here, in ways I can't predict. And I will tell you a secret, how I get happily through the monotony of each day. I tell myself, "with each file you move a fraction of an inch away from him, and that much closer to the life you were meant to have." And it helps some, it really does.
If an old acquaintance asks if we talk, I say no, not at all, and they might shake their heads at 34 years, all meaningless. I just press my lips together in acceptance. I don't tell them that from time to time I still talk to the space you left, or that the time between conversations grows steadily, blessedly, ever longer.