Bus Musings…


My mother used to let us run around without shoes. If I focus I can still remember the feeling of the grass beneath my feet under the plum tree of the backyard of my childhood; cold and wet, dirt between my toes. It’s hard to look back and think things were normal, things were okay. There were long stretches of time where my mother wouldn’t even get out of bed, and who knows where my father was. She used to have us play with the neighbors we didn’t like, because it was important for someone to watch us. It’s hard to look back and not realize how long anxiety has been with me. I used to just think I was antisocial, unpopular. But even with my childhood in the distance I can still feel the overwhelming dread, the complete consumption of fear, that leaving the house entailed. This is something that has stayed with me. The daily struggle to just get out of bed and walk outside. It would be nice if people realized the courage that takes. Unfortunately I won’t be winning any awards anytime soon. There was a strange neighbor girl, Amy, that my mother stuck my sister and me with. They tried to teach us how to ride bikes, they fed us. One day sticks out in particular, though. One day my sister and I showed up and before we were let into the house, Amy’s mom carried us, literally carried us to the bathroom and washed our feet so that we could step on her carpet without getting it dirty. I don’t remember being ashamed at the time. I don’t even remember if I was the one who told my mother that this occurred. What I do remember is my mother getting out of bed, driving both me and my sister down to Amy’s house, and in an air of terrifying calm, screaming at Amy’s mother. Often defying her very apparent depression, my mother would protect us. That’s what I mean when I say I can’t imagine a life without her. It hurts on a level so primal that I can feel my heart breaking at the thought.

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