Thursday, October 25, 2012

Social Workers are Great but Mothers are Better Part II

I'm three and we're at the Lisbon zoo. As all kids are wont to do I look and see legs , these walking sticks with no faces. Some are covered in cloth, tending for the dark but some are wonderfully shapely and covered by this wondrous stuff that allows you to see the flesh underneath. They're nylons I will discover later. They come in all colors but in those years, they're mostly flesh colored or obligatory black to signal mourning of one year for a relative, for life if husband. Between covered sticks I make out other faces to whom I look in distrust. Those are people, little people just like myself and they wander sometimes running after those long sticks called legs, sometimes, attached to another stick with a clutching device at the end, a hand. That is usually the hand of the mother. These are wonderful people, if you're lucky, and the source of your accepted misery if the stars are not aligned. Whether wonderful, caressing and loving or cold, vicious and mean they feed you little or enough, they clothe you warmly or with rags, they choose whether you live or die. You , therefore do not want to loose this mother! But one day, a sunny Sunday you loosen the grip, the mother is enthralled by that other figure to be talked about later and your legs, tiny as they are do not keep up. You look around, your heart speeds up and for the first time in your life you are alone in the world. Time is an illusion and it stretches into infinity. You stare, you whirl, you cry. Nothing to nothing to say. Mother is the center of life and you have lost her. You are bad and you are never to eat again. No more hugs, no more kisses. Life is over. You are truly alone in the world, surrounded by throngs of people that mean nothing to you. The heart rate accelerates and water comes out of your eyes. Fear is all encompassing. Two tall strange looking people bend down to talk to you. They speak and yet nothing they say makes sense. The fear factor  is augmented by the possibility that they will take you away and will not feed you and you'll be cold. They know not your needs. They smile and you recoil...the minutes pass, the zoo is crowded and you, lost in the biggest of all possible universes have not learned a way out. That clutch was always there after all! That warm fleshed clutch that you know so well. You know the texture, when it's cold and when it's sweaty. To you, it's always warm and welcomed. It's mother's hand and the stars were nice to you. Mother is a kind one. That hand has become the most desired object in the universe as that hand determines whether you live or die. These people and their smiles and strange mumblings, who are they and what will they do to you. You have lost mother and it's  your fault. Suffer child, for now and forever...suffer for letting go of the thing that fed you, suffer for not squeezing hard enough you fool!
And then, at a turn of a second, there she is, scared, running towards you calling your name in a language you know. She smiles at the strangers and she holds you. your hearts beat as one , fast and furious. You hold for life and for love. The loss is over for now, but the fear, that will remain, tucked away in a corner the fear of loss, the fear of mother's love, the only love there is. It's a selfish love. It's the love that keeps you alive, the love that feeds you, the love that feeds you love and kisses and hugs. It's the only one you know. Many more losses will come. Gone is the illusion of protection guaranteed and irrevocable.
But you have regained mother and her heart, her pounding fearful heart still echoes inside you. It is louder than yours it seems because your hear is crushed against her belly and her heart reverberates through her being. You don't know it then and will not for along time, for most of your lives, but your loss and your fear is projected on her ten fold and echoes other losses she has felt. For she, too, was once a child and she too, suffered must have. The rest of the day is lost in the murkiness of the past and no longer matters. You have learned that to clutch that hand is to live or die. A lesson badly learned and for which you will pay later. Much later. But that it for another day!

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