Sometimes I feel like a tree without any leaves. Sometimes I feel like a tree without any color. Sometimes I feel like I’m slipping by unnoticed — strong yes, hardened yes, but leaving no footprints.
I wonder about you often. I wonder how you did it. You see, you made me think your love was the common love. It’s not. I look around me at so many mothers — and they are good, and they are kind, and they are patient, and they expect not so little….. but what you are supposed to expect of a child. I get sad sometimes but that’s okay. I wasn’t supposed to be your husband. I see that now. It’s just that now I see all the love, and the way they cherish their kids, the way they deliver stern talks and discipline with remarkable love and compassion, and I have trouble understanding how you gave so much hate even when you loved me. And maybe that’s the real difficulty — I know you loved me. Maybe that made it worse because I couldn’t reconcile that knowledge with your actions.
I think back after so much life tried to tell me it hadn’t actually happened. I know that all things outside come from within. I know I am not alone, but I was the only one alone with you. You told me once you’d never in all your life had control. I understood that. Today, I understand that feeling still. You said sorry once, you even cried. But one apology, one cry is not enough. It’s almost like you were trying to govern some sort of magic in me. You draped me with so much hate but you also taught me so much strength. It’s like you armored me just enough to not destroy me completely. It’s like you didn’t love me as much as I had thought, but you didn’t hate me as much as I thought either. I suppose there’s peace in that.
I have imagined having my own child many times. I have run mental plays where in my anger I might have hit my kid, said, I wish you were never born, and I hate you. I can’t do it — not even in fantasy or dreaming can I do it. That makes me feel a little better, because I know you are in me…. somewhere I have some of you in me, but not that.
You were not the common love, are not the common love. That makes me hopeful, it cheers me some. I found it other places I suppose. Though it never filled. Sometimes I still think about those days. I am baffled at the words and the feelings and the actions. I feel it more now than I did back then. I got numb quickly, although the fear was always strong, and the fear was falsely interpreted as well-behaved.
I don’t regret our time together when I was young, at least not for me, but I regret it for you. You missed out. You missed out on loving a kid who was kinda cool, a kid who saw the world differently from most, a kid who was more driven than most, a kid who slipped dollars in your purse when you weren’t looking to help with groceries. I saw everything. I heard everything. I paid attention, so much more than you realized. You missed out on a kid who gave everything to his mom. Just imagine how much I would have given to a mom that touched me with gentleness instead of hate.
I am tired now. So tired. And I understand so much more of life and its difficulty, and I think, more of you as well.
I’m a strong oak and I’m learning flexibility, I’m learning about leaves and color, and trying my best to stop working so hard to be loved. I worked for yours all my life and never felt it — never got it as I wished.
But you made me strong, you made me a strong tree, and I can’t fault you for that.
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