the tears

Day 9 :: The Tears

 

so cliche’.

big girls don’t cry.

i was a big girl at age 4 or 5, i don’t really know. we moved four times by then.

don’t attach to people, places or things.

 

i walked the railroad tracks alone to a school called opportunity.

my mother would nap with my kid brothers.

i made my own snack, took my own nap and waited alone.

i didn’t cry when we left.

 

a move to the panhandle, next to a clear lake, a mink farm and flora the bridge player.

the big school bus would pick us up at the edge of nowhere.

that day, my mother was ironing in the kitchen. she might have been crying. i don’t know.

the president was dead.

 

a move to the suburbs, another state and i didn’t cry when we left.

a new school. a new house.

that surgery to remove a birthmark that embarrassed the family.

still, i don’t remember crying.

i don’t know where my mother was.

maybe playing bridge.

 

another move, another house.

another move, another house.

 

four years in a house painted fire engine red, wall to wall red carpet, red flocked wallpaper.

filled to the gills with seven children, 14 and under.

the irony was not lost on me, even then.

mother was too busy.

cleaning and baking and sewing, changing diapers, taking care of kids, painting.

playing bridge and tennis.

searching for herself.

staying alive.

 

there wasn’t anything to lose, nothing could be broken, i couldn’t get lost or hurt.

i had learned my lesson well: don’t attach to people, places or things.

just stay alive.

……………………………………………………………….

 

pregnant with my third child.

left sitting on the side of the road, alone in the summer heat.

my grandfather watching from the picture window.

two preschoolers playing in the yard.

i don’t know where my mother was.

maybe playing tennis.

maybe playing bridge.

 

……………………………………………………………….

 

quiet. no need for words. just being.

six months, like clockwork, i sat, staring out the window, wordless.

sitting with a wise man, willing to wait for what would come next.

december flakes of snow began to drift, the first tear fell gently.

opening the door.

being present.

being seen.

being.

breathing.

 

………………………………………………………………

 

did she ever cry?

did she ever know her girl

needed to cry,

wanted to cry,

had something to cry about?

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