you

I’m not rid of it.  The other day, when we ran, you heard it.  When it’s really loud I wish you would turn away, leave, give up, so you would not have to be around me.  So I would not be able to darken your days, you who’ve brightened mine so much.  You taught me how to relax.  You taught me how to escape.  I can watch TV now.  It is okay to do nothing in a day.  You sit and absorb, you rest, you talk, you’re wonderful and speak with abandon, you’re mean and jeer without apology, you’re the kindest person I know, you yell, you bend over, you flare and you’re sorry and you forgive and you forgive yourself and you forget, and you care, and you believe.  You live.  Afraid of the voice, I began to mimic a caricature of an easygoing you, trying to abandon all my obsessions and all my drive and all my goals because I thought I could not have them and be free of it breathing down my neck, whispering in my ear, screaming, screaming, screaming without end, and I so very much want to be free of it.  But no, that’s not how it works—giving up those things didn’t quiet it.  I still live in fear, of it, and now also of trying, which once I could not help but do.  It has been back and now with a new set of slights added to the list; sometimes it creeps through my shoddy façade and when it does it is loud and it is destructive and I don’t know how to stop it and do I really want to when deep down I believe what it says? You hate it too.  But you have faith in me.  You believe in me.  I believe you, more than I believe it.  You said you’ll help.  I can do it with you.  I can do anything.  You can too.

I sleep now, when I lie down next to you. Even though my days will always beg for more (because what limit is there to life?) happy sleep will always be right around the corner.  We watched the little lion last June; we watched how he danced and how he rested, we watched him observe and demand observation, we watched him create worlds and engage in others’ worlds; we watched him explore, watched him delight, we watched his disappointment and his distraction; we watched him sleeping; we watched him dreaming. When you left, I slept next to him.  He sang with Whitney Houston, softly making the sounds he’s listened to for the first two years of his short, full life — “when you love me like this, when you look at me like that…” — then drifted off, to dream his own wild dreams.  It was a sleep that was part of a full and wonderful life. It’s the sleep I know I can have, next to you.

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