There is a picture I have of my son running through snow in the woods. He is running far ahead of me, the bright orange of his hat in stark contrast with all the colors around him. I love everything about this picture, the blue sky peeking through at the top, the trees on the left rising out of the ground, their trunks spotted with green, the snow covered pile of branches that looks like a small mountain, and him most of all, the way he runs, without a worry.
In that picture, there is no place for the conversations I don’t know how to have, with him, with others, and so have avoided until they find their way here, until I let the page speak for me. So, think of this as a conversation we are having. Think of this as conversation, and though there may be art in its presentation, there is also the truth. There is also always the truth, all my difficult ones, the ones I might have hidden in person and so been told that I was hard, or that my heart just wasn’t in it.
This is a conversation I am trying to have, even if sometimes no one is listening, or even if they are listening but choose to never respond, and like all conversation, it is borne from a desire for connection because there are days I feel isolated and very alone, and like in this last year that all I have done is go backwards instead of forward. This is a conversation, and like all conversation, it is borne from a desire to be heard. Because I want to be heard. Because the heart always wants to be heard.
I have gone backwards instead of forwards, and today I stared at my face in the mirror for a long time, feeling fragile and tired and just broken. I stared at my face in the mirror and wondered what it would take before I could stop feeling like a haunt in my own life. What it would take before I could stop grieving. I could see her, I thought, the person I used to be, somewhere in there, beneath the brown eyes, beneath bone and the thump of heart in the chest, beneath the balloon of lungs inflating with breath, somewhere beneath, still, she was there. And each day I struggle still to find that, my center. More so some days than others, days like today, when all I want is a little conversation, and for someone to answer back.
In my mind, I still see him running through that snow. All the hard questions he might ask me or that I might ask myself, none of them have a place there. There were only the small legs moving fast, the winter air on my face. Joy. There was only joy.