I know I haven't always been the best mother but...run now, my dear. Run fast, and don't look back.
I open my eyes.
"Holy shit," I whisper.
"That's a bad word, Mama,"
I blink. Mama? Who?
Harrison looks down at me, his hair in my eyes. He cocks his head smiling. "Hi Mama."
I swallow, shaking my head. "Hi, Harry. Is your dad here?"
He grins. "He lives here!"
I nod. "Yeah. You're right."
"Can you make me some food? I'm very hungry, and my tummy is making rumbly nosies."
I get up, holding my head. I haven't dreamt of my parents in a very long time. This ain't a good sign. Ah. Shit.
"Yeah, yeah. How's pancakes?"
He jumps on the bed. "I love pancakes, Mama!"
I walk into his kitchen, going into the cabinets. I pull out pancakes mix.
"Hey," I call out to Harry. He bounces over to my side. So much energy early in the morning. "You allergic to anything?"
He shakes his head.
"You like blueberries?"
He nodded excitedly. I smile. "My too," I say softly, shaking some blueberries into the pancake mix.
He starts dancing next to me, making up a song about blueberries and pancakes as he goes along. I heat up the pan.
Could I have done this? Taken care of him this way? Held him, and fed him.
I pour the batter feeling the butter pop.
"Harry, can you take a shower on your own?"
"I already did, Mama," He grins, going back to dancing.
Could I? Why didn't I try? I flip over the pancake, getting a plate from the cabinet.
Why didn't I think to take care of him?
I put the pancake on the plate, pouring more batter into the pan. I was so scared. I'll never forget when I found out I was pregnant. The first thing I thought was:
I'm gonna die.
It wasn't even...I didn't even think about the baby. I just thought...they're gonna kill me. And not, I'm gonna hey kicked out. Or, how am I gonna take care of myself. Or, my parents will be angry.
He would've killed me. Killed me for dishonoring him. Embarrassing him. He would've killed me, and mourned me to the cameras because a dead child is way better than a shameful one.
And once that fear wiggled inside me...I couldn't see. I just wanted to...live.
I never felt like a mother. I didn't want to get rid of him, but I never thought about my taking care of him. I just thought...I want to live.
And that there was no way I could ever take care of him.
I couldn't run with a baby. And if he caught me...it was over.
But I wish I had held him. I wish I had taken care of him. Wiped his tears and changed his diapers.
"Mama? Why are you crying."
I look down at him. "I'm not. Go to the table, I'll bring your pancakes okay?"
He smiles. He's beautiful. Why did I leave him? How selfish can I be?
I want to live.
That's all I thought. But what would it have been like? If I had been a mother? If I had thought about more than myself?
If I had opened my heart to my child?
I put the plate in front of him. "Just wait. It needs to cool down, alright?"
I haven't felt anything for anyone in a very long time.
I haven't thought of anything other than: I want to live, in a very long time.
But now...I want to feel again. I want to make different choices. I want more than to live. Because looking at him, I want that for him.
I don't want him to go everyday just thinking of how to live. I want him to be happy. And full. Of life and happiness.
Nothing I've done contributes to that.
"Is that...blueberry pancakes?" Benjamin asks. Where the hell did he come from?
"Hey, it's just like your mom made that time," he grins.
I look down. "I don't know what you're talking about."
"Are you okay? Your eyes are red?" Benjamin states.
"Mama was crying," Harrison said factually.
"You?" Benjamin chuckles. "I haven't seen you cry since we were what? 8?"
I shake my head. "I wasn't crying."
Harrison smiles up at me. "Cheer up Mama! Have some pancakes!"
I want to feel again.
God, I just want to feel again.