Friday, August 14, 2009


He. His eyes sparkle as he revels in his pristine, newly unveiled independence. It’s like he has burst out of the confining womb formed by walls of rules, curfews and parental expectations. He is out, and the world is fresh, contemporary and exhilarating. Even the music that fills his heart has found a verdant new expression that has “freedom” written all over it. The paths are endless, and he will take the ones that he, himself, decides. He is happy, and free, and (for the most part) carefree. He is beautifully naïve and courageous and trusting of the world that lies in front of him. He has been waiting for this moment for nearly 18 years now, and here it is. He is unrestrained, liberated, and undeniably free.

She. She glances at the mirror and looks deeply into herself. The wrinkles around her eyes have established a deepening, an uncomfortable permanence that she has never known before. It is like she is a statue that has surrendered to the elements, and is being there just to be there. She chokes back the disbelief that she could possibly be approaching this chapter in her life. While some days seemed endless, the years suddenly whirled into moments, and she is not quite sure how she got here.

She worries about him. She worries about the world that she put him in. They're dreadfully fond of beheading people here; the great wonder is that there's anyone left alive. She paces the floor of his empty room, barren of his youthful energy, and hopes that she remembered to tell him the significant messages she wants him to know, and, more importantly, hopes that he was listening. How to treat people. How there is empowerment in honesty. How to be true to yourself. How to find amusing irony in uncomfortable situations, and miracles in sorrow. How, when you give to your community, your own rewards are endless. Moderation. All lessons she wants him to know.

Then, she thinks about how grateful she is for the lessons that he taught her. How the ultimate love is the love that comes without conditions. How to mosh, skank and dance “the pretzel”. How the most beautiful music can come from a boy augmenting undefined notes on his bass clarinet, but in the process is discovering his true passion. How to laugh from the pit of your belly. Most obvious now – how to let go. Accountability. All lessons that he taught her.

She goes back to the mirror and smiles at the lines that paint her face. The deepest ones are laugh-lines, marking the years of animated experiences that she and her children have shared together. In her recollection she was almost always smiling, fully knowing the blessing of the unity of their kindred spirits. She is the fortunate one, the one who knows that the surest thing in this life of hers is their standing in her heart. And that will never change, no matter where their residence might be.

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