“Honey, sometimes in life we have to move on. Your daddy did and I miss him every day, but it’s these things that make us stronger…” the mother's voice fades as she draws another ragged breath. Neither can stop the tears from falling.
“Ads… I will always love you, never forget that, please never forget me...” Realizing her last moments are close, the mother makes a final sacrifice, leaving her daughter with a clue to who she really is.
“If you are ever in need look to the stars…” the small girl glances up at the blurred pinpricks of light, and when she looks back her mother is gone--along with the only life she has ever known.
They called her fat. She looked at just over 110 lbs self and saw what they wanted her to see. Too much. So she ate less. Always less. Then less. And even less. Her skin sagged. And still, she saw too much. Her clothes hung off her body, loose and baggy. And still, she saw too much. 100 lbs. 90. 80. Just 14 and 65 lbs. Then came the day when her parents walked in black. All because they called her fat.
They called her dumb. She looked at her B's and A's and saw nothing. Nothing but failure. She stopped talking, raising her hand, and started saying I don't know. She started finding D's on her papers. She saw what they had always seen. Always wanted her to see. Her grades dropped further. She left high school. Now she works at a gas station. All because they called her dumb.
Sometimes, my family asks me how schools going. I tell them: good. They say that that is good. They ask me how my friends are. I say: Good. (Maybe I'll share an anecdote from lunch). They ask me about lunch, and sports and other things. As usual, good--maybe a bit more. Usually, the conversation circulates to "who are the popular kids".
Now, this is what gets under my skin, and though yes--the term popular does often riggle under there, but that's not what I'm getting at. The question that usually follows from my parents is: So, what makes them popular?
And, I'm utterly clueless.
Sure, maybe they are extroverted. Maybe they get along with people. Maybe anything, but for a real human basted, moral value what do I come up with?
And that's just it... what do we base the tiers of
1. Those nights where there is no sound except for the silent tick of the clock whose hands point well past the time that you should have fallen asleep, and the steady swish of the pages of your book.
2. Coming down at ten on a Thursday to find that the world is not brown and gray and spotted here and there with bursts of fluorescent, but a solid white-- and the smell of something baking in the oven fills the room.
3. Smiling too big so that your mouth gets tight and cramps at a sunny cafeteria table with the greatest friends in the world and laughing over absolutely nothing that is not absolutely nothing to you and them.
4. Singing to yourself in the shower, because the water in your ears and the too-loud music drowns out your voice, and you feel absolutely alone with the music inside you.
Dear Alphabet, Thank you for always being here for me, even if I didn't know I would need you. I wasn't sure what to make of you when I first met you. You had always been a mystery before then. But, you came along all bright and bold, and I didn't understand your antics. You were loud and quiet, and straight and loopy and zigzagged and curved. And no, I didn't fall instantly in love. I was skeptical at first. Convinced at the fact that I need to get to know you. Later, through the years I talked to you a lot. Those days when I couldn't say anything right, you were the one who I could speak to. You always understood me, (even when I didn't understand myself). You were there to help me understand. You helped explain what I need to see. So a thank you for that. And of course, there were those times, when I simply couldn't agree with you.