I just got back from dropping Ava off at school…in a wash of tears (me, not her). It all started when we walked in the door of her classroom and Mrs. Heffner handed me Ava’s school pictures…her first school pictures. I looked at them and was instantaneously struck by this wave of loss, as if someone was handing me the picture of my child that they’re going to put on missing children posters that will be plastered all over the city. But it’s a beautiful picture. And I remember that day…how afraid Bird was and how we before school we prepped her to smile. She has two smiles you know. Ask her for her “first” smile and you’ll get a pink crescent mouth with her lips tightly sealed shut. Number “two” brandishes both rows of her little teeth. I like number two better, but think number one says a lot about what goes on inside my bird’s head.
On the way into school I thought I smelled gas. Same thing when I came out. So there I was, 9:04am, crying in a school parking lot because I am dead set on the possibility that receiving Ava’s pictures was symbolic. I thought, if I don’t follow God’s clue and locate the gas leak that’s occurring, she and all the other children will be blown to bits and this picture will be all I have left. Eventually I forced myself to ask someone else if they smelled it. The woman did, and said rather matter-of-factly that’s from the refinery. If the wind is just right, you can smell gas. So I came home, blown to bits myself, deteriorating on the inside and walking rather quickly into my office where Heather won’t be able to see that I’ve been crying, that I am still crying.
A growing concern of mine is whether or not I’ll ever be able to be content about what’s going on in my life without having my happiness clubbed by an extreme fear of losing everything, of my children being abducted, of me dying an early death and leaving them fatherless. Every joyous experience I have, every proud moment I entertain is eventually smashed flatly to the earth by a hanging certainty that devastation is traveling a parallel course. Something is always looming in my shadow, waiting and watching me and my family because it believes that the world’s balance is best kept by taking from us and delivering to another. I try and reshape my face into an exterior that tells a lot less about what goes on behind it while inside I sink and cower beneath my skin as if it were a fireproof blanket and the only thing that can provide me the illusion of safety until I eventually dip beneath the surface and drown in a bottomless reservoir of despair.
I just called Rhonda, she was in a meeting. She can usually sense when I am on the brink and probably did this time too because she said she’s going to come home as soon as her meeting ends.
I can’t get these thoughts out of my head and I don’t know what to do.