Wednesday, July 13, 2011
When you were still mine
A long time ago (a second, a moment, a breath ago) you were soft and small with golden curls. And you demanded to sleep with me even though you had your own room. We were poor, but I'd made a sweet room for you. I put fancy Laura Ashley bedding on layaway for months before we moved into our new (ancient) apartment. And even though I was able to create the room I'd always dreamed about (for you, saw it in a magazine), it didn't sooth you.
You wanted me.
My room was a mixed up mess of Indian bedspreads and novelty lights strung against a mantel. My bed was on the floor and there were low lamps on the floor too. Stacks of books lived in dusty layers on the radiators. You loved that room.
"I sleep with YOU mama!" you'd say (yell, stomp, whisper)
And I held my arms out, because I couldn't sleep without you, anyway. Stupid layaway.
But there was always one condition. I was in school so I had to read my books out loud to you. We didn't have a television then. Nothing but each other for distraction. Four pages in to "Sociology and the Law" you'd be asleep.
But you know what?
I didn't stop reading out loud. I read the whole chapter through. Safe with you in the crook of my arm, one hand stroking your forehead, the other fumbling with a clumsy textbook. All the while you're little chest rose and fell in a sleeping way that made me think of Heaven. (Heaven Stay)
I ruined it all while I fixed it. This is how the world works.
And I can't take back any of the decisions I've made, and I don't think you'd want me to, either.
So all I can give you now is this. I remember.
I remember when you were still mine. Only mine.