This week’s #writeme30 photo is from Milly Hoffmann. It’s an old photo of her being held by her Mumma Bear Jeannie. Two glorious women. Full of deeper things.
I think the first time I met Milly in person her first sentence contained the word fuck at least twice. She’d just arrived for the first day of the first Creative Development of PressureLands. She’s been a precious lass ever since.
We like her a lot.
The Response – Ruin Filler:
*All characters/events etc are fictional
My mother was 26 when I was born.
Her hair was long and straight.
My father was 31.
His hair was short and cropped close to his head.
I was born in the centenary year.
My hair was short and dark and stuck straight up in the air.
This year I am the same age my mother was when I was born.
I spend time in hospitals.
Hours of time.
Great, deep chunks of time.
Of my life.
Cutting bits out.
Putting other bits in.
I am sick.
Have been sick.
Will always be sick.
I met him on one of those brilliant blustery ridiculous days. When the wind whips your hair and the ground dust into your mouth and into your eyes. We’d been waiting in line for a hot dog at the Field Days. He tried to put mustard on his, the opening was glued shut with old hard mustard so it squirted out unevenly, unexpectedly. All over me. I burst into tears. It was the first Field Days I’d attended in three years. I was wearing a new and beautiful dress my mother had made for me. Day ruined. He was horrified. Stumbling over his words to apologise to me. And I felt bad for him. I did. Really. But I also kind of didn’t really care. This was meant to be a day for me. To forget the awfulness. The darkness. To see people and be seen. Healthy. Alive. Present.
His guilt covered me in kindness. He shouted me a helicopter ride, above the square lines of this place. He bought me fairy floss and a scarf to cover the mustard stain. He told me about his brothers and parents and the farm he grew up on. And I told him things. Words spilling out into the dust and the sugar. The fear. The doubts. The rooms that smell like toilet cleaner and loneliness. The friendships that don’t last because words on paper don’t taste the same as hugs. And a day was lived. One day. A day that tangled my tears and his guilt into laughter that lasted nearly seven years.
Seven years of hospital rooms. Seven years of being sick, being well and growing into out skin. Seven years of dust and good food. Seven years of mingled families and learning to be friends with our fears. Seven years of bliss.
Seven years that can’t undo how sick, sick is.
Seven years that have no answer to an empty uterus for a man with hungry arms.
It’s been coming. For a little while. A little while longer than I’ve wanted to share with myself. The space appearing between our hands. The smiles that feel too crisp. Too clean. Too far away to touch. But even seeing it. I’m still caught by surprise. Still rattled by the quiet closing of the car door leaving us behind.
My phone is full of numbers now. Full of friendships full. Friendships I could call, but I don’t. I call her. My mother. My beautiful, strong, glorious mother. She answers. Nothing comes out of me. She knows.
Says “I’ll be there soon. Open the curtains and let the light in”. I hang up the phone and wait. Perched nervously on the front step like it’s my first day of school.
And then, then she’s there.
Her arms are strong against my back. Wrapped tightly around the cage of my body. Her arms are strong. My sobs are stronger. We rock together. She and I. Chaotic and heavy with doubt. We rock together. She and I. This is all there is. This love. This mothers love.
This mothers love.
* I will be a few weeks short of photos so if you would like to submit a photo for me to respond to, you would be very welcome to. Email it to me at: pressurelandsATmeDOTcom