Eleven Months

I see her sometimes. Right in front of me I pull focus on an image. Smiling. Another image. Younger. And smiling.

No image that is clear lacks a smile.

As a child, I saw them hanging on paneled walls in wooden frames amid a menagerie of newer portraits or tucked inside plastic sleeves in albums with cardboard, felt-lined covers with fraying corners. Single-serving heartbeats, some willingly surrendered before the professional’s eye, others stolen by amateurs. Though numerous, combined they document less than a moment, so I am left to imagine her in the seconds before each one, the cajoling and the priming and her standing still and waiting for the shutter to blink so she can too.

But there is no movement.

Lately that comes in the periphery, where a leaf dances quickly in the wind and is then swept away and I can’t turn my head to find it, stuck fast like those bound in Plato’s cave who see things not as they are but as they appear to be. I have been told she would be so proud, but the smiles I see do not fit the moments. Only those so long ago.

Her memory is trapped in others. Eleven months I had her and I am left with nothing. I must have known the sound of her voice, her various inflections when she sang or laughed or talked or cried. I must have welcomed the familiar warmth and texture of her skin as I lay against it.

If there is anything at all it is buried deep under the piling up of years, or simply replaced, lost in the grind of growing up. I cannot see her living life with me. Living life at all.

[photo credit]


24 thoughts on “Eleven Months

  1. Fuck me. Were you adopted? Really, or am I getting this all wrong? I know this is going to seem so damn selfish of me but I want to know the entire story. I want you to just tell me everything you know, remember, feel. Is there a primal wound? Do you never forget? Do you even know how badly I’m aching for my own child right now? Tell me something that will save me. Okay?

    And yes, it was beautiful.

  2. This post left me shredded. Absolutely ripped to pieces. My husband and I have often talked of such things, of how our children hug and kiss us and run to the door. But if we were to disappear tomorrow, how much would they be able to carry forward? At this age, not much. It’s something we have discussed in the darkest of night because to introduce such thoughts into the heartbeat of our days is to uncover fears best left hidden in the shadows.

  3. like castles on the sand – only to be taken by an incomming tide … I tried to stop it as it slowly crept up … but who am I to tell the tide what to do?

    Great post mate!!! Stirred up a whole bunchh of stuff … I can still hear his laughter, to sit and talk with you awhile that would be my greatest wish today …

    life has be lonely without you Dad, I needed you then, thing is … I still do …..

  4. I had gotten away from reading your blog regularly, but fear not, I am now pulled back in. Beautiful, as everyone else has already said. You have a talent; it is to bring to the surface raw emotion in those reading your pieces.

    Take care man, hope you are well.

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