Admit something: Everyone you see, you say to them, “Love me.”
Of course you do not do this out loud, otherwise someone would call the cops.
Still though, think about this, this great pull in us to connect. Why not become the one who lives with a full moon in each eye that is always saying, with that sweet moon language, What every other eye in this world is dying to hear?
I. Coming home from school was an exercise in hostile silence. Even if there was some kind of warmth in my ma’s voice, there would be some hook to it or a ‘miss’ of some kind. It was not a home in which there was ease or innocence or humour or calm. There was the continuation of a grudge that had no fathomable, no possible origin. We three were inmates, and like all captives we turned on one another. Fed on the pain or humiliation of one another. Hated one another. Until we couldn’t feel a thing. We three creative, bright, intelligent children. Extroverts by nature but driven to oppressive, harrowing, brooding silences. Developing plans to (in order) sleep/close down, to escape, or to transcend. I look from one to the other now and wonder that these could be those same five people. These good, open hearted adults. These people I love so dearly, even if from a necessary distance.
II. And even now, if I enter any space and am met with eyes-down silence; by indifference, I fight for my life. Fight for some way to make sense of it. It’s more than being left out; it is being left to bleed, be tortured, or die alone. Alone in the presence of this organism, this family, this community that I am supposed to be part of. The elusive sunny, friendly, inclusive world of my day dreams. The one that isn’t true. The one that was never, ever true. The one I’ll never stop looking for. The one I can’t even create for others.
III. I came home one day. My cousins were staying over and our parents were out. I so clearly remember my mumma’s smile: so excited to be going to a show with her friends and husband. Together we all made roast chicken and salads, like our mothers instructed us to make. I mashed the potatoes – proud and precise. Stubborn but needing help. So childish, I shrink now to think about the trouble I was for everyone, but they didn’t seem to mind. I recall the patient kindness of my brothers and sister-cousins. We made the table up, ate our food, cleaned up after ourselves and moved into the lounge to play gin rummy, which I was far more adept at than making potatoes mash. I woke up in the warm, green bean bag later that night and I was carried off to bed by the eldest; wished goodnight by everyone. The sounds of the voices surrounding me as I fell back into sleep.