I’m not a cryer.
I very rarely cry, which is strange because I grew up crying constantly. The Warrior likes to tell people that as a baby all I did was cry, but over the years you now rarely hear a peep out of me. She finds that funny.
I admit to being the kind of drama queen as a teenager that I would want to punch in the face if I were to meet her today. Even within the last few years, I’ve been a bit of a drama queen. But rather than get worse, I’ve moved more and more into an emotionless brick to the point that the Warrior calls me harsh, and sometimes, cold. I don’t mean to do it. I just prefer to not think about feelings as much as others around me.
So I think it came as a total surprise to both myself and the Warrior when I burst into tears last night. She was trying to get me to see something from someone else’s point of view. I told her I couldn’t understand how a person can be so emotional about a single event in their lives like a parent leaving. After all, my father left when I was 5. He didn’t fight my mother for custody or visitation for me or my sister and he didn’t pay her any child support (except for the money the government took out of his wages years down the line that amounted to £2.50 per child, per WEEK). I’m fine. I don’t need him and I never have. What’s the point in dwelling on it?
She said one thing to me, “imagine it had been me who had left you instead of your dad.” And with that came the most devastating feeling that washed over me. There was immediate fear and then what followed was the kind of pain that I couldn’t even imagine I could feel.
And I lost it.
I could see in the Warrior’s face that she was shocked. In fact, she was so shocked she momentarily stopped moving before she leapt off the sofa and hugged me (another thing I don’t do very often).
We talked for over an hour. She had work to do but she didn’t even look at her laptop. She sat with me and she talked to me. And the whole time I cried and I talked. I told her that I don’t want to have a relationship with my father at all and that I don’t lament the fact that I have not had a relationship with him. I told her that I still remember the day we had come home from spending the night at my cousin’s house and I had gone looking for my father, only to discover he had left to be with his mistress like a thief in the night. I still remember how it felt that day, aged 5. Feeling betrayed, feeling left behind, feeling like I had been forgotten.
Her telling me to imagine that it had been her instead of him reminded me of that day. Except these feelings were magnified to an almost unbelievable degree. That feeling of loss and of profound, indescribable pain, hit me like a knife in the chest being twisted. And all of a sudden I was a little girl again. And I cried. I cried from my heart.
Even now, the next day, as I type this I am fighting back tears. Because I know that I’m lucky she is my mother. I know that, even though my father is the worst kind of deadbeat, I hit the jackpot when I was born to her. I know that my sister, who is growing up to be almost exactly like her, is becoming the most amazing young woman. I know that my father’s decision was both the worst and best decision he could have ever made because she is ours, in the most complete sense of the word, as much as we are hers.
She calls us the two most precious things in her life. I believe her. She has never done anything to make us believe that wasn’t true. She always tells us she has our backs. She will always help us get up when we fall. And when her body eventually leaves this world, her touch will always be in the breeze on our faces or the sunlight shining through the trees.
I never contemplated the idea that she would never be with me. Never. So after twenty-five years of taking that for granted, one simple comment to incite empathy in me for someone else has taught me a huge lesson. I’m lucky.
I’m so lucky.