You know when there are those moments in life that make everything seem to slow down and make reality very strange? Like everything is just spinning around you out of control and all you can do is watch?
I dont even remember getting up to my bedroom, but now sitting on my bed, everything that has happened is catching up to me and I realize my new reality. I read the letter again, just to be sure that I wasn’t seeing things...
We all enjoyed the pictures you sent of my little Mary, She has grown so much! My boys are doing just fine as well, They look so much like Mary did when she was younger. I am glad that all is well with you and yours, thank you again for the pictures of our little girl! I keep praying for her everyday.
What?! Who is this woman? She calls me her ‘little Mary’... thats not normal. Definitely NOT NORMAL! And Mom sent pictures of me to her? that wasn’t normal either… I can’t handle this right now. I quickly shove the letter and envelope under my mattress and smooth out the blankets. Slowly I catch my breath and walk down the stairs, I need to get a clear head.
* * *
Flying down the street towards the park, I’m pedalling as fast as I can. Maybe I can crash my bike and hit my head and forget everything that has just happened… no such luck.
I arrive at the park several blocks down and slow to a stop. The swings are my therapy. Growing up with a mom as an actual therapist, kinda weird. Its not terrible, but I guess it would be difficult for anyone to separate a whole day of dealing with peoples problems and raising children, who always seem to have a problem with the world. So I rarely share my problems with mom anymore, instead I like the swings. Something about the way they work is meditating I guess. Everything just seems better from the vantage point of a swing. I feel younger, and everything crazy and important seems farther away so I don’t have to worry about what’s happening out there. Its just me, the swing , and the breeze.
And sometimes Caleb… The neighbor kid who longs to do college basketball. He sometimes comes to the park to practice his shooting. So most of the time, its just him at the court and me at the swings, we never talk but it makes me feel less alone. We have been neighbors for ever and thats the closest we have ever come to… anything. Sometimes coming here to think about him is all I have to do to. I pretend that I know him, that we are friends. Sometimes I guess at what his life is like, maybe he is a spy, or a merman or something weird like that… and maybe I watch too many movies.
Caleb isn’t here today though, so its just me and one of the families from down the way. I try to think of a nonchalant way to bring up Jamie Harris with my mom… two hours later and I still have nothing. I lean back in the swing and let my hair brush the ground below me as I whoosh by. How do I ask about something like that? Hey mom! just read your mail, and noticed that this woman from New York thanked you for sending pictures of me… and she also might have mentioned that i’m “hers”. What does she mean by that exa--- wait. Hold the phone. She called me ‘hers’... like… her daughter? Her sons are starting to look like me…
I sit up so fast on the swing and dig my heels into the ground that I fall forward onto my knees. How could I be so stupid! Thats obviously what it means.
I look up to see Caleb watching me from the court, I guess he decided to show up after all. Numbly I stand up, brush off my jeans and walk to my bike.
The ride home takes twice as long, and I barely notice when the tears start trekking down my cheeks.