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you are not there

We are taking the little one for a ride on her new sled. It is bright orange, with a fuzzy black and white seat cover to keep her extra warm. Her tiny hands in tiny gloves hold the sides as tight as she can. I pull her down a path, shouting "woohooo" and then she replies "woohoo". N's turn is next, pulling her more schoolgirl than mother for a few minutes. There are other parents with children on sleds passing us. Their eyes straight forward, faces completely blank they slip by in silence. I flash a smile to them, and they do not even look at me. I am not there, just another tree leaning towards the stream that runs below.

There are ducks still, flapping around the brackish water and we throw pieces of stale bread to them. I start to think, not about the complete absence of smiles in this culture. I stopped asking about that long ago, told over and again that smiles are reserved for home, behind closed doors. But I wonder, for the children -  these wiggling bu…

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There are pockets, absences. In them, histories are hidden, memories stamped down under dry earth. There are episodes that have never been shared, fights and screams never repeated. I carry them in silence for a number of reasons. Some things are forced into shadow by warped law and influence. Freedom of speech is a privilege, and a vulnerable one. Some are edited by choice. Some are edited by necessity. The result is the same - an incomplete picture, a book missing pages, a song missing a second verse. 

There are dogeared boxes of papers that are too painful, too embarrassing too forgotten to yank from shelves, the smell of yellowing paper, the hot pang of failure on them. I cannot throw them away just yet, but plan to. Maybe I save some of them for E, scraps of evidence from a life she was too young to commit to memory, a life of wild-eyed desperation and daily drama. I don't know what she will do with them, but maybe they are for her to destroy, not me.

The past and present are both obscured, hidden behind drapes, unspoken. 

So much goes unsaid, I wonder what good it is to speak at times, to be play along with such lies, such deceptions, such over-simple truths. I used to get excited about theories about where truth exists, in hidden spaces between the known and the unknown - the gaps, the lines scribbled out of love letters. They were theories that inspired years of work, but only now do I understand the price paid for experiencing them first hand. To be mute is a prison I could never have imagined, a punishment that bites into fresh skin every day.

Comments

invisible woman said…
In honour of the burden of your silence, I shall leave you here a silent comment...
oldswimmer said…
save them for E!
Breathtaking. Again.

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