It washed over me. Like a hot flash it engulfed my chest. Tight and restricted, bound by some greatness. My head was slow to realize the meaning of the pain. The burning hot sensation of sorrow rose from my heart to my voice and from deep within I drew a long and low moan. Startled by its audio frequency, fear now mixed with sadness. I found myself confused. I didn’t know my own depth. From where did I draw this convulsed and agonized creature? And then, without notice, like the sudden drop in a carnival ride I plummeted into an abyss so deep and dark, surely I had died.
Breath caught in my throat, of no use to my lungs or heart. I held his unshaven face in my hands. A fleeting thought of how beautiful his face when clean-shaven. I bit my tongue and realized my true transgression, surprising myself and him by my touch. How long had it been since I touched his face? That I dared to hold a part of him in my hands? I kissed his cheek; “my favorite boy”, I said through a dissolving wall of tears. His face widened with the slight parting of his lips, as they drew back, muscles pulled his cheeks towards dancing eyes. I couldn’t watch. And so, thrust myself to hide my head aside his. Something tightened in and then around my throat and I fought to speak my mind. The heat of it burned and rose to disfigure my face. Ugly with raw emotion, I managed to break through breaking down. “I will miss you desperately.” Breathe. I drew a breath and brought some composure to myself as I drew back to meet his eyes. He still held the slight of his smile, but his eyes were rimmed in tears.
Theie appearance, like a performer’s cue though neither of us were performing, our scene was well choreographed. It was beautiful. I knew it and he knew it. It’s beauty provided us shelter from the raw reality of grief and sorrow and fear. “I am so excited for you.” I positioned myself with greater distance. My hands resting at his elbows. “Go and show everyone just how wonderful I know you are.” I stepped back. Our eyes letting the other go, ever so slightly, but all the same. The muscles on his face working easily to draw that fabulous smile into place. A crowd pleaser for sure. Another step back put me three quarters turned from his square. Somewhere in my mind I knew it is all math. He had been a part of the sum of my existence and without him I was a fraction of myself. An irrational number. One that can’t be expressed, like the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. Would the object of my life become the counting and measuring of the distance between us?
I drew a cleansing breath and felt it douse the fire. I gave him that all knowing smile and raised my eyebrows reminding us both that I once had great influence. I once moved the stars and the moon. And it was I who told him of the great green room. I was once the center of his universe. My hands slipped from his elbow, one catching one of his hands. I held it knowing it wouldn’t last long. It was all coming to an end. “Everyday,” I said taking my last shot. “Go. Everyday, and share how wonderful you.” He allowed me this. Granted me one last wish. In the fairy tale of my mind I curtsied like an old nursemaid to the young prince. Keeping that to myself, I began my descent back to the car. Just as I turned he got the last words in. “Thanks mom. I love you”.
I saw his face, his lips move to make the words sing from his mouth. Overcome by the beauty of it all, I turned slumped in pain and grief. I didn’t see him climb aboard the bus. I sat in the car knowing that there was no other option for me than to peer into the darkened windows hoping to catch a glimpse of him. Waiting for the bus door to close. Listening for the mechanical sound of the driver shifting into drive. The bus lurches forward in sound and space. And he is gone. No amount of my watching will change that.