“Mommy, when I grow up, you can come visit me where I live in space. You can get blasters on my motor bike then you could use it to come visit, and daddy can, too.”
I don’t know what came over me but I started crying. I tried to hold it in, but the prospect of C living in space while I’m stuck on Earth, well, it brought me to immediate, and as I quickly found out, uncontrollable tears.
C’s eyes welled up, too, and he said “why are you making that face, mommy? I don’t like that face.” He threw his head back and let out a wail, then fixed his dark eyes on mine. “Why are your eyes like that? I don’t like your eyes like that.”
I tried to pull it together, but I just kept imagining C living on the Mars colony, taking that one way trip. I’ve often thought that if he does something crazy, like move to California (he’s clearly way more imaginative than me), that I would be super sad to not have him near me. I’ve thought that if he moves far away, I could move there too, not right on top of him, or down the street, but perhaps close enough so he could come raid my pantry whenever he felt like it.
I pictured him an explorer, and the joy that discovery would bring him. I pictured myself heartbroken, with no hope of a reprieve. The very thought of not being able to hold him close to me… I did what I could to stop crying, but I was weak in the face of this kind of heartbreak.
I finally told him that I was crying because I would miss him if he went to space, and he said “but you would just come visit me.”
He’d never seen me cry before, and when he did, it was because I was afraid of losing him.
My dad’s a pretty big cryer. He’s a big hearted, empathetic man, and he’s never been afraid to show it, or at least not afraid enough to make him feel like he should hide his emotions. I remember seeing my dad cry a few times as a kid, and it made me scared that the world was crumbling apart. Usually, it was, or at least our world was.
He was standing where the sidewalk met the front path to our house. He was holding my brother, who was 3 years old. He was crying, and my brother was crying, and the car was parked out there in front of the house.
My brother and I were supposed to spend the weekend with my dad. There was some visitation custody deal that my brother’s mom had with my dad, and it was dad’s weekend. I was supposed to go too, but I didn’t want to. I wanted to show my allegiance to my brother’s mom, who I wanted to stay living with, in our house, even after the divorce. I’d refused to go with my dad, and is broke his heart well enough that he couldn’t fix it on his own.
He wasn’t allowed on the property, so he stood there at the edge, and yelled out. I looked out the window. My brother’s mom’s sister laughed. I smiled because it was all so awkward and I really hadn’t known what I was doing when I said I wouldn’t go with my dad, I just wanted approval from my step-mom, I guess.
“Will you please take my son?” He yelled out. And he weeped openly, and sobbed these wracking sobs on the sidewalk. He didn’t trust himself to care for him; my dad was falling into the abyss. My brother looked into our dad’s face and cried too. I watched from the window.