It's a thing. I don't want it to be a thing, but my sister, who's far more honest than I am, texted me exactly what I was feeling. She shared with me exactly what I was doing to others.
I wanna hold days and weeks and years in a bin and shake them around. I want them to matter less than they do; sanding each moment into a sunlight swirl. I want to make better use of the present and not carry around the past. But that's my satchel--rather my bulging baggage--of days sawed away from my time here. Some of them are heavier than others.
It took me a few years to fully realize what was happening. I'd get irritable and restless. There was a tendency to recoil at others. The wind pissed me off. I was a shoe-in for a big Pharma commercial. A candidate for the spotless mind.
Let me tell you, if I can, about what it is that haunts me most. It's being unable to talk without crying. I sat there on the edge of her bed and kept trying to say something but could not. I wanted a cooler version of me to walk washed through the tears and say "Oh shit, I'm sorry about him. Let me tell you how much you mean to me, to the world." But it was thousand miles of gumdrop sticky and big sniffles. I couldn't get unstuck from the big, dumb swamp of human frailty. So frail.
Turns out I was doing what you're supposed to do: weep like a kid who's just lost his mother. Once, in the Ferncliff General Store in Allenspark, I thought I was walking with my mom when I looked up to see the very visage of horror. A child's nightmare morphed into the gentle smile of a woman who was doing her best not to terrify me. I'm sure she was an attractive human, and I still remember her dark hair, short and tidy around her surprised brown face. But I was holding her hand and she was not my mom. In another day of a kid who spent a lot of time in space, I grabbed the wrong woman. She did her best to calm me and even notified the omnipotent intercom of customer service, but she scared the shit out me. My mom gave up her groceries, ran to me, and carried me into the comfort of a Kodachrome summer so long ago.
Had she ran up to me and I was not at all perturbed by her absence, I imagine she'd wonder what had gone wrong. How could her son be so cold in the face of dramatic maternal trauma? Well, dammit, 28 years later, at the tender age of 54, she would again not be disappointed by her son's reaction to her departure. And now another birthday, and nearly another ten years. Again and again she will not be disappointed.