“If a seed dropped did not germinate, it was nothing. If the young thrusting plant withered in drought or drowned in a flood of rain, it was no more to the driver than to the tractor.” -John Steinbeck
I picture your firsts. Your first word. Mommy. Your first haircut. I will keep your hair inside of a memory box. Your first day of school. Kindergarten. You will carry a plastic lunchbox and a backpack, and you will cry when I leave you with your teacher. I will cry too. Your first date. Your wedding. I picture how these things will go, how you sound and what you look like. I imagine holding you; I envision how your fingers will feel in mine when I help you cross the street and how you will come to me for advice as you get older. That will be my job, to give you advice. To help you grow. To germinate. This is what a mother does. What I would have done, were I your mother. Am I? Your mother? What makes a mother?
In this world people die every day of sickness and disease, violence, and so many other things. That won’t happen to you. You don’t feel any pain anymore. You feel nothing. I wonder where you are, if it’s better. If you are. I wonder if you’re alone or with him. Together. I picture that. It doesn’t make it better. Nothing makes it better.
I sit in my bed, the sheets clutched in my fists and tears streaming down my face. I wish that I could rewind time, that I could go back and give you these things. It is dark, late. I wish I could be with you for real. But that won’t happen. Decisions have been made that can’t, shouldn’t, be reversed. All the crying in the world won’t bring you back. I blame myself. I shouldn’t; there are a trail of reasons why this is not my fault. But I blame myself. The spotlight only shines on the things I did wrong, the contributions I made to the situation. I tell myself I could have done differently, made different choices, even though I know that isn’t true.
Germinate. The act, process, or result of germinating; the evolution of a germ or seed; the formation of an embryo from an ovum. The beginning of vegetation or growth in a seed. The beginning of life.
I am wrapped in a sweatshirt, blue and old. Worn. I picture so many things, so many ways in which our lives would have intertwined. I picture all of the reasons why they can never intertwine. All of the wrongs. I am angry for what happened, that this happened, that my life was changed in this way. That yours was. I like to think that you’re not alone. I am in pain for so many reasons, things that you will never understand. It’s better that way.
I can’t talk to other people about you. You will never have a playdate. You will never know me. You won’t grow. You won’t ever set foot on the ground, feel the grass between the toes. You will never pet a kitten; you will never go to school. You will never grow old, because you will never grow at all. You just won’t. Nothing can change that or make it better. If the you are the seed that dropped and failed to germinate, what happened is the tractor and life it’s driver. It doesn’t matter to the tractor. The tractor is just a thing. It doesn’t matter to the driver, to life. No one really knows, life goes on. Minus you. I worry it matters to no one.
I want you to know that it matters to me.
I talk to you as if you are real. Well, not real. Not exactly. You are real. You just aren’t here in front of me. I talk to you as if you are grown, as if you are my age and we are having a conversation. I pretend that you understand. I explain to you the reasons why, even the reasons I don’t know myself. I apologize. Because I am. Sorry.