failed attempt

How do you prove a friend that he is not alone? How do you show him that he is not alone? You are not there to hold his hand. You are here, writing a letter and saying (weeks after the tragedy has happened) that he should imagine your hand on his shoulder, his head resting in your lap. How do you persuade him that he is not alone when you yourself feel lonelier than ever? When you are wrapped in your own lonesomeness so tight that you can hardly move or breathe? How do you prove that there is a heart-to-heart closeness when you are countries and years away? Your news reach the friend too late, his happy moments have long gone when your congratulations reach him.

You go for the extreme. You try telepathy. You burn candles, impose rhythms and tempos to your breathing, you focus, chant, meditate, curl up in aching positions and lose sleep – hoping it is not in vain.

The result reaches you when you’ve almost forgotten everything you did that strange night: your friend dreamt that you fell in a dark pit, bumped your head, broke a leg, but a pack of wolves brought you bleeding and trembling to his house. You were washed and tended to and when you recovered from your convalescence, you gave a smile and produced a perfectly white lion’s foot from your dirty, smelly backpack. The friend woke up worried that you might be sick and in need of help, but then calmed down remembering the wolves. Salvation is near. He never once imagined all the fuss was meant to make him feel better. Your friend never got the proper message. At least, he didn’t fret needlessly, you think, folding the late-arrived letter and going to bed without a thought, without a second thought.

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Immaturity

It’s not when he needs to hold my hand –

It’s not when he must hold my hand –

It’s when he wants to hold my hand

that I feel blessed.

Perfect touch of will and skin,

an embrace out of desire and affection.

When he is urged towards me by some instinct,

by some unfathomable drive –

my son holds my entire soul in his tiny fist,

throbbing with joy, feeling safe, sheltered and well placed.

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Stop and check

I consider myself a good listener. I believe that people can find it easy to talk to me and that I have the patience to listen to their troubles, stories or life experiences. It is not only my family members and friends who have shared secrets and personal history with me. There have been cashiers in train stations and ticket clerks, people I’ve met on trips or sat next to at wedding tables and they all managed to squeeze in some details about their life and spirit that made me feel as if I was allowed to hear the whispers one dares tell only the wind gods. I have also felt responsible for always giving a reply according to the story received. People usually need to be comforted or approved or simply held by the hand when they sob over their own past. However, I have always felt compelled to say somethig in return. I always found myself proposing solutions, advising or making a comment made to soothe. I wrote letters in answer to complaints or experiences heard over the phone. I said congratulations when I believed that is what people deserved and I joined them in cursing and swearing when that was required to release tension and clear the air.

I have always felt proud that people showed confidence in me, that I was trusted with dark, dangerous, silly or sad secrets. i felt as if I was an angel-chosen guardian of secret lives.

Until today I thought this was part of an unmentionable selfishness that allowed me to feel important and special. I thought I was doing myself a fevour by accepting and encouraging people to keep telling their stories. I was afraid that sometimes I was just absorbing perspectives and potential personas. I had begun to feel hammered down by beliefs that I was adding alternate lives to my own, trying to enrich the one-life option given by divinity.

Today, however, I sensed that it is all due to a pleasure of feeling useful, necessary, of enjoying a special status. I realised that seeing a smile after a sad story is what makes my day. I simply like helping others, I only like the fact that by offering time from my own life I can improve and brighten the life of another. It’s wonderful satisfaction the one I find when I am thanked and told that I matter.

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feelings too powerful..

he entered the room

my heart throbbed, my mind ebbed

his lips moved

my hands heard his smile

his feet approached

my ears felt his smell

everything reversed

everything sparkled –

he was there, bent over my head

whispering, promising –

Come closer, I said

then swallowed him whole –

I could no longer put up with the pain,

thus ended his presence, thus dissolved him forever..

the weight of physical closeness..

I miss holding my baby in my arms. I miss my baby’s willingness to be held tight in my arms. He was about one year old (up to one year and a half), when he started teething regularly. He used to ask me to sit on a chair, in front of the computer screen, to grab my hand and place it atop the mouse and wait impatiently on my lap for Shrek, Cleopatra Stratan or Lilo and Stitch to work their magic on his gloomy mood. He used to have me sit and hold him tight for hours on end. I’d get bored watching the same things over and over every morning and afternoon, I’d know by heart the Gummy Bear lyrics, I’d try to persuade him to go out for walks or play in the yard and all he wanted was to just sit there, nipping his dummies with his pointy teeth. I remember thinking how boring it all seemed, how the only thing I liked was his physical closeness, his smell, his body warmth, his fingers clasping my left thumb and his feet dangling. I used to caress his head and fair hair and clean his ears with special cotton tabs. Every now and then I managed to clip his nails and that was nothing short of a real victory!

I remember enjoying the neverending tenderness that his fits of non-playfulness used to bring about. It was then that he let me kiss his neck and nose, that he let me count the ribs through his shirts and massage his feet through his socks.

I miss this time enormously now, and it is just a few months away! He now sits by himself on the same chair, he turns on the computer by himself, selects Windows 7 and then calls for me merely to play one of another of his favourite cartoons. He never sits calmly for more than 5 minutes and he resents being kissed, hugged, pet or held. I feel sad when he rejects my hand, when he pushes me away and when I sense that I’ve crowded too much upon his personal space to be accepted. I feel as if I haven’t made the most of what was once so willingly allowed. I wish I could turn back the time in order to grasp just moments of the past and clutch him back in my arms, feeling as safe as humanly possible.

The past is not ours to bring forth, so I leave the past in the past. I enjoy the closeness he allows when giving him his showers and bath. He talks to himself in the mirror, he greets himself Hello and Goodbye and he sometimes kisses his own reflection. He is then extremely cheerful, he toys with the toothbrushes within reach, he drops the soap behind the washing machine, he squints and squats and checks with me if he is allwoed to do all that he wants to do. I sometimes forbid the obviously risky ones and I try to make him feel as if he’s deciding what leg is to be washed next and which shampoo we should use. He is genuinely happy when being washed and he sometimes turns towards me, kisses me and plasters his wet head on my neck, as if he’d been doing that all day. He sometimes pets me with his tiny hand and wrings his pointer into one of my nostrils, mumbling a smiley ma-ma-ma. This is the new form of accepted tenderness and closeness and I now know not to treat it lightly.

Children teach us the proper way of seeing life if we take the time to pay enough attention to how and why and when they do the things they do.

Lovers’ dialogue

I’ll name a star for you

The star will never be impressed

Neither will you?

I’d rather we walked towards the star

together

though

alone would make it a shorter trip

but

your hand to hold my hand

your heel to hold my footing

your back to keep me warm and steady

that

would make me happy

moonlight_walk_by_asianfroggy-d6fm14jImage source : http://fc04.deviantart.net/fs70/f/2013/209/9/3/moonlight_walk_by_asianfroggy-d6fm14j.jpg

 

T-W-O : The age of willful pretense

My son has been two years old for almost three weeks now. Which is by no standard a lot of time. But since he turned two and, to be entirely honest, a couple of weeks before his second anniversary, he’s been discovering the miracles of make-believe.

The kitchen in our house is special grounds with plenty of restricted areas, including several cupboards with chinaware which he knows quite well that remain off-limit. Still, he has grown more audacious and he serenely ignores my gentle protests that emerge the instant he opens one of the forbidden doors. Curious what his first temptations in that taboo cupboard would be, I deliberately paid full attention to the coffee mug where I was diligently stirring the hot liquid and stayed silent as he placed his tiny hand onto one of the inner shelves. There were four egg-stands that apparently resembled little cups – each painted a different colour and wearing a different smiley face. They are a present from a dear friend and I was about to yell “Put that down!” when I noticed what he was doing: raising the egg holder to his lips he pretended to be drinking something with deep sips and then put it back in its place making the sound of papillary satisfaction that he must have heard in one of the adults at some point in the past. He did that with all four ‘cups’ and, as he was extremely gentle and careful, I let him finish before taking him out of the cupboard and, respectively, of the kitchen. He’s been doing this every single day for more than two weeks and he’s just as serious as the first time when he takes his long and noisy sips of the imaginary liquid.

Thinking that maybe this is merely a detail, I told of it to nobody. But today, having crossed the two-year threshold, I challenged him to a game I thought he would quickly refuse. I put down a set of plastic plates of very small dimensions, an uneven number of forks, knives and spoons, all made of the same soft plastic, a couple of miniature mugs and a pot with a green cover. I set down on the rug and started moving the cuttlery around, without doing anything that might have suggested eating or setting the table or anything similar. He stood beside me for about three seconds, then joined me on the carpet. I took out a couple of spoons from the box where the rest of the items had been and just watched him without making any gestures. He took the cup first and started drinking some imaginary coffee (or maybe it was tea or water, he never told me). He set it back down and then picked one of the spoons and took a spoonful of something from one of the plates and shoved it hurriedly in his mouth. He took the cover off the pot and poured something into the empty plate. Apparently now it was full of some delicious food. As he had never used a knife and he’d never been allowed to toy with one, I brought some very small pieces of bread and put them on a plate. I pretended to be cutting them into even smaller pieces using a knife and a fork and he stopped me short. He took the fork from my hand, pierced the miniature buns and ate them one by one. 

My husband joined in at some point, surprised to witness such a game, which although simple in its nature, proved to us our son’s mental evolution, and he was immediately offered bread crumbs from a pink plastic fork. He praised the exquisite taste of rug dust and the unprecedented saliva moisture on a piece of unique bread which our son had adminsitered with obvious pleasure. 

It is now clear to both of us that the age of two is one that brings about a more lucid and realistic perception of the world, as our son can also understand some basic jokes, can recognize a flower in a drawing and can make the distinction between a real cat and a cartoon cat. It is also the age of the first rebellion: although the child understands perfectly well what he is being told (of course, we haven’t tried to explain the theory of relativity yet and we haven’t charted the stars together), he is inclined to simply ignore you if he feels reluctant toi do what you wish. He couldn’t care less of your scolding and he will turn his back to you as soon as you finish slapping his hand or yelling your command, moving on to the next item on his secret list, still not bringing you the pen he threw on the floor or the pacifier he dropped in the shoe.

It is the age of the first seriously adult-perception changes.

 

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Image source: http://images.landofnod.com/is/image/LandOfNod/3710871_PlayDishesWood_H08?$zm$