Real Feelings for Unreal Things
Somewhere in between me being a child and a teenager, I got really dark. Not in complexion but in my mind. I began to write “poetry” which is best explained as thoughts and adjectives I had just thrown up onto a piece of paper. Once a week, I made my parents listen to these pieces of regurgitation.
One night before bedtime, I walked into their room without knocking. This was the time of day I preferred to read to them because #1 they were tired so they weren’t going to say “no” and #2 they were happiest because their day was over and the “little one” (my brother) was in bed, just us adults were up. So, as they laid in their bed watching Murder, She Wrote, I walked in and stood at the foot of their bed with a piece of paper in my hand.
“Did you brush your teeth?” My mom asked.
Insulted by her question, I ignored it and turned off their TV.
“You guys, I have something really special to share with you. I think you need to hear this.”
They looked at each other, having heard that same plea before and sighed “go ahead”. Lucky for them, I chose to overlook their lack of enthusiasm and read.
I cleared my throat.
“Warm. Red. Blood. I couldn’t see you but I felt you. Always. Swimming. Living. Existing with me. No one knew me but you. Forced to snuggle, forced to share breath we were one. Always. Then it happened. I couldn’t see but I felt the cold. I felt the stillness. You were gone. I was alone. Scared. Lonely. Every day I miss you. Every day I can feel you. Every day I love you.”
I had tears in my eyes when I looked up from my sheet of paper and looked at my parents laying in bed, with their jaws open. They weren’t saying anything and looked a little puzzled.
Drying the tears and embarrassed because they weren’t crying too I asked, “Did you like it?” I wasn’t coy in fishing for compliments.
“Amelia, that was really descriptive.” My dad said, which I though was a good note.
“Honey, that was really emotional.” My mom didn’t seem onboard.
“How do think I feel?” I wasn’t happy she wasn’t praising my rawness.
“Was this about something that happened to you?” My mom asked.
“Well, yeah mom, how else could I write about it?” Ugh, here we go again, my mom never understood me.
“Can you talk about where this poem came from?” Her concern was scaring me.
“Well, I’m surprised I have to explain this to you but, it’s about my twin that died before we were born.”
“Yeah, you were pregnant and thought you were going to have two boys who you were going to name Nicholas and Christopher because of the Christmas due date BUT, one died before he was born and one of those boys was actually a girl, me.”
My mom and dad laughed, probably out of fear that their daughter was insane, but for whatever reason it was insulting.
“Stop laughing at my poem! Didn’t you see me crying?!”
“Honey, come here.” Pity was written all over her eyebrows. I crawled into their big king bed and snuggled up in the middle of my parents and they explained to me that none of that poem was true. There were never twins and there was never an expectation for a boy because they didn’t know the gender until I was born. Plus, I was almost a month late so they didn’t know I was going to be born so close to Christmas. But, they also went on to explain that just because that the poem wasn’t true in real life didn’t mean it wasn’t true in emotion or imagination and that was something to be proud of.
Thanks Mom and Dad for not squashing my imagination, letting me experiment with reality and encouraging (some of) my madness.