I believe that my mother will always, in some way, see me as the thirteen year old girl curled up on the floor in her closet, crying into her carpet, learning how to be wrong about people. And even though my legs got longer and my eyes figured out how to not always shed tears when my heart made them burn, she would still sit on our back porch and ceaselessly ask me what I was thinking and if I was really happy.
She would sip her coffee and ask what I was thinking, like she was waiting for my knees to buckle so that she could curl up next to me on her closet floor. And I guess there are parts of her that will never be able to see the parts of me that know how to pick my own self up now; the parts of me that don’t need to feel that carpet against my cheeks anymore.
We were sitting in his room, and I kept asking him what time it was, knowing I would have to leave soon. Still, I had sat quietly against the wall watching him manipulate the golden chain in his hands. So much of me wanted to tell him to put it down. He would’ve, gladly, if I had just asked. But his eyes were so serious, and his long fingers held the chain so gently; I thought how nice it would’ve been to have just reached out and touched him. But I held my breath and watched him work, biting my tongue when all I really wanted was to feel him sitting next to me. Then he held up the necklace and smiled at me.
It was fixed. And I wasn’t surprised.
He had always been so good at fixing things.
My mother found a new coping mechanism when I stopped needing her to cry on the closet floor with me: getting rid of old clothes.
I’m sitting here typing these words and she’s sitting at the door of my closet yanking shirts I don’t wear anymore off of their hangers. My sister is giggling about it, and neither of them know that I’m sitting here writing these words; neither of them know that there’s a glitch on my WordPress app, and it tells me that my second post I ever made is still a draft; they don’t know that every time I go to click on this piece I’m writing at this very moment, I accidentally click on the “draft” that isn’t really a draft.
The title is, “When ‘finally’ became my favorite word.”
And that is so hard.
There’s a field I have to pass when I’m driving to the city. At the start of the summer, there’s always a long row of sunflowers right along the road. For a few months, I’ll drive by and think they are the tallest, happiest things I think God has ever created. The way they reach towards the sky with everything that’s in them.
For the past few weeks I’ve been driving by the field and watching the farmer’s sunflowers begin to droop. Little by little, their little sunflower heads take turns flipping downwards.
Now all of the sunflowers are gray. Their little heads look so heavy and dark, like they’re about to fall off and roll in the dirt until the farmer plants new ones next summer.
I don’t like sunflowers anymore.
Today, I want to feel the carpet against my cheeks.
And that’s so okay.