On the shoulder of this long green stretch I open the windows. It's quiet except for small birds and leaves. A dump truck passes with a clinking of chains and an airy whomp. In the side mirror I try to conjure an 18-year old boy. Be walking. Boots and a pack over one shoulder and your daddy's gait. The boy transforms into a pained, blind three-year-old in a wheelchair.
I can't breathe.
I'm sorry. I feel like a terrible fraud for all this, for the writing here. It's not that it was contrived. I felt all these words, but tonight they make me cringe. They're saccharine and slippery and unfamiliar. I am insufferable and embarrassed. I might have made you think I have some faith, or convictions, or certainty. Or at least an ability to drum up enough colour to self-generate. I don't.
The woman with the perfect power, the belly with the safe twins, my own Ben, Liam's double. I can't honour any of them properly. I don't know what to say or do. I stammer and turn away to nothing in particular, no purpose or intent or sacred space or ritual.
I see this scar every day and spit on anyone who would presume to pity me for it. It's offensive to eat, to feed this body when he has none. The neonatologist who stood with us over his body... he was kind and tall and British. He said don't use the word 'decision'. I search his face in my memory, again. I wonder if that nurse thought I was a monster. The sailmaker's chest keeps a clipping of his hair. It stares at me every time I enter the room. I look away.
See? There is nothing artful here, nothing resolved. This is an empty hole full of frantic.
I heard my own shriek over and over again, the sound that came out when they took away the machines. It came out of nowhere, the ghost of that shriek, and I had to pull over. Evan's little preschool graduation play, next Tuesday.... next Tuesday? What's Tuesday? The 15-
On the shoulder of a long green stretch I opened the windows to breathe. It didn't work.
I wasn't going to post this. What can anybody say? I don't want to make you feel uncomfortable. I don't want to make my mother cry. Two days ago I mined my writing at Glow in the Woods for a friend of a friend, recently bereaved. And for a moment I felt like a consumer of it. I needed it. It sounded so assured. But then I remembered that I'd written it. Which is some kind of tail-eating snake, because what is true? The empty uncertainty, or the chocolate by starlight? I can't be both. If it wasn't this it would be nothing and right now, nothing feels worse. So please forgive it and know that sometime, after Tuesday, I'll either figure it out or turn around. Or I'll try.