I saw you today.
I was sitting on a playground, watching your brother when you came running.
Bouncing dark curls, thick wobbly calves, squealing as he spun you in circles underneath the slide.
You were just as beautiful as I picture you to be, so in love with him, so happy. So healthy.
I sat on the bench in silence. For a moment I believed it to be true. For a moment it was my life. The life that could have been. I was just another mom on a bench. Book in hand, thoughts of defrosting chickens on marble counter tops.
But I'm not that mother anymore. And I wasn't hers either.
I watch her run to the stroller, smash the freckle-faced cabbage patch into her chubby cheeks. I watch the woman place her, gently, calmly, into cushions of plaid. The cushioned life I once had slowly walking away, until I'm alone on the bench. Cosmically far from her embrace. From sure-things and guarantees on playgrounds.
The sun glares as he runs into my arms, and I wipe the tear from behind the aviators I don't leave home without.
And I walk, into the gymnasium. The school. The restaurant.
I walk into worlds of mothers on benches. Hold hands that don't reach for yours. Seek advice from foreign tongues, sugars I no longer taste.
Words that try and hold me, shielding cutting stretching coaxing, this script that won't translate.
And I watch them carry you away. Your face on cotton shoulders, through rainy windows in the next lane. They're pushing you to homes with blue shutters, retaining walls intact.
And I'm running up behind them. Breathless. Waving. Late.
And you are always blurred, and just beyond my reach.
And they are always carrying you away.