I’ve deeply settled into the thought of what our parents were before our lives. Before we harnessed them to couches and schedules they'd kinda chosen because sex was fun.
I’ve only known a man, never the boy. What he thought his life would be like. What he worried about, what embarrassed him the most about himself. To us he was always perfect because that’s what dad looked like….he looked like dad, but what did he think he looked like?
When he stared at a baseball card, did he wish for the majors? Did he want for anyone so bad his throat tasted it? Did he ever wonder who he’d marry…..and was she something of the storybook beauty, or a neighbor’s tom-boy crush? Did he know right away, or did it grow stronger with time? Hell, did it grow weaker with time? Running any race, what was he thinking about before the finish…who was he really doing it for? Holding his finger out for a ride to the beach, was there ever a worry it might be the end, or was the risk the excitement in living? In his life before this, what was his motivation? Was he lost and scared in the choices he’d make...... that they’d be right for everyone he loved, who he'd still never met... Had he chosen to work where he did, or was it a place he settled on because it was time to become a man? Canoeing the lake he’d done so many nights, no stroke ever the same, no moon shining the ink streaking glimpse he'd seen the year prior.....who he saw below the oar, I wonder if he loved them?
Brushing their hair and grasping the rings that dangled from the chain of those they’d agreed to go steady, our mothers were innocent dreamers. Staring in the mirror, they looked right through their eyes until forever. It was wherever they’d chosen to be swept. How fast it’d be and how their legs would dangle free over the threshold. The arms of the man they’d waited for would save them. No more changing younger siblings’ diapers, or sneaking later curfews under the nose of lenient veteran daddies. They knew they didn’t have to sneak, these were good girls and their parents trusted them…like a cigarette’s relief. But they wanted to be bad. They'd pull harder than any girl to fit their tight jeans. They died for a spark…. pushing lipstick harder and brighter because those nights, they lived for themselves. Something we’ve truly never seen. Their faces long since changed the first minute we cried. Oh what it must’ve been like to see them free. Fireflies at night, our mothers lit up rooms.....our mothers were the innocent unknown across the backyard that guys were too scared to try catching. The young women who learned lessons by experience rather than educational resource.....the breed stronger than the men they'd love. If you don’t believe me, ask him.
Do our parents catch themselves day-dreaming through the windows of their minivan, analyzing where they'd fallen short? Reminiscing of their chidhood and those comforting moments of confidence their parents breathed into their ears from bouncing knees. Do they hide those securities for their irrelevance to the present? For who they might hurt if revealed, and how they could never be taken back. Saving them for a long night's sleep where they choose when to open their eyes. I'd like to make as though they were just dumb kids in love, but these people were fearless. You're not supposed to know everything....and knowing that, they made the hardest decisions with their souls.
I can’t imagine something so unbelievable could ever make us become them. There's nothing that could touch them, not even the stars. How strong can they actually be, if at one point they were you and me….