Only vanity makes me believe I can remain untouched by your grief. Healed wounds though only just scabbed over Make me invincible. I fight dragons and rescue maidens And will not get caught up in emotional distress. Riding the white horse into the sunset I am my own hero -- I even wrote a theme song quietly strumming As I attempt to tease Quixote away from the text His collision with a destiny mirroring our own Magnifying the dark.
My son asked if we could 'have a talk' the other night.
'Of course. What's up?'
'Well, know how our cat likes to sometimes sleep under the covers with me? You know how he drools?'
Yup. Our cat drools like a Saint Bernard watching a barbecue. He drools big globs of goo any time you are petting him. It's his sign of contentment. Not unlike some dudes in my past but I digress.
'Well, I woke up and I was all wet.' pause 'Down there.' he pointed.
'Hmmm. You don't think it was the cat do you?'
The boy shook his head.
'And you didn't pee either did you?'
'No. So, what happened mom?'
'Ahhhhhh. Well, remember when you had asked about sex and I told you that seed called semen came out of the man's penis? Well, your body was just going through a check list to make sure it was working properly and from the sounds of it, it's all in working order. What you had is sometimes called having a wet dream.'
The boy paused and absorbed this.
'What does sex feel like mom?'
'Hmmmmm. Well, it might feel different for a man and a woman. For example, I don't have a penis so I wouldn't know how having one would feel. Would you like to talk to your father about this?'
'I tried but he told me that talking about this was inappropriate.'
I held my tongue. Really. But for f&^(k's sake! If a child is wanting to talk they are ready for an answer and nothing about our bodies is f&*^&^king inappropriate!
'Ahhhh. Well, I'm glad you are asking me and I'll do my best to answer. Sex can feel very nice and sometimes it can feel not nice. In order to have it feel nice certain things have to be in place. First, your body needs to be ready.'
'How will I know?'
'Well, you see that your penis is beginning to work on its own right? Your physical body is starting to get ready but your mind really has no control over it right?'
'Well, let's see. Have you ever looked at anyone and thought that it might feel really good to kiss them on the lips?'
'Yuck! No way!'
'Ok, that kinda shows that your mind isn't really ready. One day, you might look at someone and want to kiss them and they might want to kiss you back and when you do, it will feel very nice.'
The boy eyed me with skepticism but said 'ok.'
'Well, you might then want to get closer to this person. You might want to hold their hand, stroke their cheek and well, just touch them. At this point, your penis might say yes (it might rise up and feel different--kinda 'tingly') and your mind might say yes but there still might be a part of you that says no. This is an important part to listen to. If you feel, at any time, that part of you isn't ready then it's safe to say that you aren't ready and that's ok.'
The boy nodded.
'Now I'm going to tell you something very very important. Even if you think you are ready, you need to be sure that your partner is also ready. This means taking your time and communicating with them in order to make sure that they are ready.'
'It wouldn't feel nice if they weren't ready too.'
'Exactly kiddo. As well, I want you to know that if you ever have questions/concerns about any of this you can always feel free to talk to me about it. Ok?'
'Ok. I love you mommy. Ummmmm. What do I do if I have another wet dream?'
'Well, you put your wet jammies/sheets in the hamper, if you feel sticky, wash yourself and that's about it. You don't have to tell me about it kiddo. It's just a part of life.'
The boy smiled and with that I kissed him good night, turned out the light and left him to his dreams.
When I was much younger and living with the family I grew up with I remember climbing the stairs to the loft space shared by my brothers. My eldest brother, Eric, was listening to music. Stereo parts and wires were strewn haphazardly on his desk, the floor and his bed. Music filled the entire space. The song was 'Heart of the Sunrise' by Yes.
Lose one on to the heart of the sunrise
The sun was streaming in through the window and shadows of blinds were etched onto Eric's face. His eyes were closed as he sang:
Time stopped. I remember the intensity of the moment. I remember how beautiful and raw his face was. Exposed. I could not know what he was thinking but I knew fully and completely what he was feeling. He was in his final year of High School. He was getting ready to leave home. He was caught in the space between now and then.
How can the wind with its arms//all around me
Two nights ago I received a phone call from an unfamiliar long distance number. 'Hello' said a strange voice. 'I have a young boy here who really wants to speak to his mommy.'
Lost on a wave and then after
My mind rationalized the situation immediately. My son was with his father. My son was safe. This stranger calling me must be a friend of my son's father.
Dream on on to the heart of the sunrise
'Mommy' my son whispered. His tears froze my heart. 'Mommy, I don't know where I am.'
I pressed the phone to my mouth and my ear and if it would have been possible I would have swallowed it whole in order to bring my son's voice and self closer to me. 'Honey I'm here. It's ok. You're ok. It's going to be ok.'
How can the wind with so many around me
'Mommy, I'm scared.'
Lost in the city
Time stopped. I remember the intensity of the moment. I do not remember thinking but I understood fully and completely what I was feeling. I was caught in the space between now and then.
Lost in their eyes as you hurry by
I have spoken to folk recently about frustration and the illusory nature of power and control. We label and define our worlds in a vain attempt to exercise our control over it.
Counting the broken ties they decided
We form relationships in order to have ourselves and our experiences reflected back. To know who we are. Some relationships we are born into. Others are chosen.
Straight light moving and removing//Sharpness of the colour sunshine
There are so many stories to be told and to be heard. When we open up and allow another in we breathe in their stories, their voices, their experiences, their joys and their pain. We do this in order to somehow make sense of what is ultimately senseless.
Straight light searching all the meanings//Of the song
My son was found. My mind dances around the cliff of 'what if' but I shy back from the edge out of necessity.
Long last treatment of the telling that//Relates to all the words sung
Right now, it is enough that he is safe. I have touched his body, smelt his hair, and heard his heart beat, looked into his eyes and tasted his skin. My senses are made believers.
Dreamer easy in the chair that really fits you.
Love comes to you and then after
This morning I received word that a friend's mother survived a major operation and the prognosis is good. I sent out a prayer of thanks into the ether. My friend was in the space between now and then.
Dream on on to the heart of the sunrise
This morning I got word that an old friend passed away peacefully at 5:45am.
I laid my head on my desk and watched as tears formed small puddles after bouncing on the concrete floor. His widow now inhabits the space between now and then. Her name and my favourite flower are the same. Funny what images come to mind.
How can the sun with its arms all around me
I remember one time when I climbed the stairs in the house I grew up in, I caught my brother in the act of singing.
The moment took my breath away. We shared an intimacy even though I'm pretty sure that he had no idea I was there watching as he let go.
How can the wind with so many around me.
I feel lost in the city.
(Lyrics in Italics from 'Heart of the Sunrise' by Yes)
Went out the other night with a girlfriend. We were chatting over a couple pints and dude #1 burst into the conversation when I started to talk to my friend about the Romanian government's recent decision to tax witches. He carried on with theories of magnetic disruptions and global 'wobbles' that were causing the recent death of birds world wide. He wasn't interested in us but wanted us to acknowledge his theories. He was amusingly harmless and gallantly shook our hands when he left.
Shortly after the departure of dude #1, dude #2 came to sit beside us. (I get that bars are social places but it always amuses me how dudes feel it ok to just join in on conversations without any introduction whatsoever, but I digress).
Dude #2 was witty and charming and not just a little flirtatious. He too talked about birds (bird watching this time, not birds dropping dead from the sky), curling, and his love of the outdoors. As he kept talking, however, I noticed that he would sometimes change his personal pronoun from 'I' to 'we.' This is a pretty clear indication that dude #2 was not single. Hmmmmm. He talked on. He mentioned that, according to his friends, the local Bridgehead that I frequented was a cougar haven. I guess I should have been flattered that he seemed to lump me into the group of 'good looking ladies' that congregated there but, instead, I explained to him that I found this particular term to be pretty darn offensive. I asked if any of his friends had ever 'picked up' at the Bridgehead and he told me that they had not because they were too shy. I suggested, based on personal experience, another theory that centered around the possibility that perhaps the women who frequented the Bridgehead were doing so for nothing more than the coffee. The dude then told me that he could see my point and that I was quite the 'firecracker.'
The dude then ordered a round of tequila shots for the three of us. After the round, I asked him how long he had been married. He looked at me with a bit of shock and then admitted that he had been married for 15 years. He also mentioned that he had 2 kids aged 14 and 11. He then asked for advice. I could see my friend roll her eyes. We both knew the deal. We were no longer women he could pick up. We would now have to fulfill another womanly role for him -- that of nurturing care givers. He asked how to deal with the fact that his wife had had an affair 15 years ago. What could have been wrong with him? She had admitted to this indiscretion a year before and he was finding it hard to get over it. Sigh.
My filter, I must admit, was no longer on at this point. I had had tequila. I said something like 'get over it. Seems that you are creating a problem out of nothing and transforming yourself into a long suffering victim in order to justify your own need to cover up personal feelings of inadequacy. It was 15 years ago. You are still together. You have known about this for a year. The fact that you are still together kind of shows that you can live with it. Go home, and hug your wife and think yourself lucky that she decided to stick with you even though you are spending an evening in a bar buying tequila shots for strange women.' My friend and I then got up to leave and said 'thank you for the tequila' cuz we are polite.
Remember when you would call me your only son? Remember when I piled up boxes and stools to reach the top shelf of my closet and it all came crashing down on top of me and it had woken you up and you came into my room and gave me my first and only spanking? Remember the bruises I had and that you had thought were from your hands but they had been from my fall? Remember when you would bring me to the track with a stop watch? I wish I could have run faster. Remember when mom left and you cornered me in the porch to let me know that my mother was a whore and I was just like her? Remember showing me that Linden tree leaves in the springtime taste like fresh green beans? Remember when you told me that music was a good hobby until I got married? I'm divorced now. Can I sing again? Remember how you wished I would become a lawyer? Remember that night when you and mom's boyfriend stood face to face and I took my brother out of the mix and dragged him to the backyard and held his shaking shoulders while he puked? Remember how you laughed when I told you that I would one day have a job I loved wherein I could support myself and choose my own hours? Remember how you would never call me pretty or beautiful because those terms should not be used when describing a daughter. Did you know that I still don't trust those words when I hear them today? Remember that night when you lit my cigarette for me? Remember when I caught my first pike and set it free because it was a fighter and I believed that it deserved a better fate than being caught by a girl.
Did you know that what makes me most angry and upset right now is that you got drunk and fell down the stairs? Did you know that stored within that one event is a lifetime of memory?