It’s like a wave that never reaches the shore. Arms outstretched, reaching for something that gets further away with each day and no matter how hard you reach to grab hold of it, it still gets further away. Like the mirage seen in a desert on a very hot day, which seems to move away the closer you think you getting to it.
The year is 2011 and it has been nine years. My 16 year old self is sitting across the room from you absorbing all the differences since the last time I saw you. Every new silver hair hiding in with the light brown strands, how the eye-shadow you wear merges with the foundation at the corner of your eyelid , all the new shapes of ink sewn into the skin on your arms. I barely recognised you at first because you had just woken me up from my slumber and I did not have my spectacles on at the time. Now we are sitting by the kitchen counter and I cannot stop myself from staring at you until you turn in my direction then my eyes shifted away. You don’t deserve my eye contact. You don’t deserve my presence. I only did this to make dad happy because he has never let me down like you did. Even though I know you, I don’t really know you and this makes me angrier with my dough rolled fists clinching harder to this fact. Your lips begin to move but I don’t care for what they have to say so I decide to shut you out.
The year is 2004 and I am being taught patience. My 9 year old self is learning to make excuses for you. Its been 678 days since you left with no explanation at all. 678 days, 678 excuses. I had no idea my imagination was so creative. I am now considering taking up law as a career because I have a talent for making the guilty seem innocent. I am learning that sitting by the window every afternoon waiting for your car to creep into the drive way and slip into the little spot under the tree where you always used to park your car, is slowly stealing pieces of me. The only thing that did creep into the drive way was an orange sun. But even the sun left after about an hour of me watching it. With each sunset I lost hope of your return. With each sunrise I would awaken to the disappointment that you hadn’t returned in the night while I slept. One less excuse to make for you.
Remember when forgiveness was involuntary? It was as easy as blinking, as simple as breathing. You didn’t even have to think about it. Here’s how it used to go: my little sister would break my favourite dolls neck, I would cry, promise never to talk to her again, she would apologise and we would be best friends again. With two words Hannah could wipe out any trace of hard feelings over the plastic dolls freshly broken joints. All of that in three minutes. Two words and three minutes was all it took. These days such simplicity didn’t exist. I could stretch the three minute process into almost a decade especially when it came to you mom. What kind of monster are you to abandon us for so long without even checking up on us? You don’t even deserve to be called mom if I am being honest because what kind of mother does this to her child.
For the longest time, I was the raging wave. Arms outstretched, reaching for the ability to forgive you. I wanted to, but the problem was, when you left, it was as if you took with you my ability to forgive. The further you went and the longer you stayed gone, the less chances of stilling my ocean. You must have travelled half way across the world from me because I began to believe forgiveness was impossible. My outstretched arms stopped reaching but here you are now, in the same room as me and yet the three minute process feels as though it is only just beginning and I still have many more miles to go. You’re sat there with something you took from me, and yet , regardless of the huge reduction in distance between us, I still cant get it back. My tired outstretched arms are exactly that, tired. Tired of reaching, tired of trying and I too, was tired. I was tired of crying, tired of trying, tired of wondering when you were coming back, tired of hoping it was all a dream, tired of missing you and mostly, tired of making excuses for you. During all this time when I was the raging wave, I did not realise you were the mirage in the desert. For all I held onto was your name, a few fading memories of you and an old photo I found in dad’s closet yet I kept on waiting for you. Even with every passing day, I stop by the window waiting for your car to pull up in the driveway but it never really pulled up. You were the illusion of water in the desert and I was the child so thirsty for their mother’s love that I actually believed in the mirage and continued to chase it through the desert even though it kept moving backwards.
Even with my trying to block you out by thinking of how much you’ve let me down in the past, a little bit of me wanted to hear what you had to say for yourself. I couldn’t make excuses for you no more so I guess I wanted to hear yours.
“I’m so sorry my love. There is nothing I can say to explain why I did what I did but just know these years have been the worst of my life. I know you have no idea how to start forgiving me, but I really am sorry.” Maybe my arms were only ever reaching for an apology. I felt as though I’m back in 2004 and the stopwatch was on 2:58. A feeling I have missed so much is coming back again and finally I have found my ability to forgive you.
This story was co-written by Jenny Mot. She is this talented young female who has been low-key helping me with a couple of blogs, inspiring a few in-fact. Definitely more collabs with her on the way. Her blogsite is https://callouslyblue3.wordpress.com/