I see you sometimes. You have my hazel eyes, but they’re greener. You’re tall. Someday you’ll be as tall as me, taller even, but your shoulders are broad, your hands soft, your fingernails lovely for a man. You have a voice that trembles the ground underneath, that gentle bass that soothes. Your stride is long, like mine.
You will never be, and I miss you.
I cut away the gates to my womb years ago, figuring I was done, figuring it was safer that way, that no child would again suffer my fates and whims. I thought I was broken, irrevocably, and unable to ever again be blessed with child.
My belly is bloated and empty with this craving, with the knowledge of where you could sit my son, where you might have been, had things been different, had I not held resentment at shovelling snow while pregnant, had I not let my blood boil with all the feelings I sheltered and ultimately felt were ignored. There’s a spot underneath my heart your feet would have sat, tucked in, cornered, had I been stronger, had I felt more loved, more worthy, more complete.
I have killed you with all of this. With the hate that simmered so near a surface of glass like love. I ruined where you could have sat as I was afraid, as I was alone, awash in a sea of blank mothering, left unmoored by the one person I wanted to lean on. You disappeared then, in the moment where I pondered you, and the recoil was so harsh I was left barely breathing, folding my desire into a tiny crane and letting it melt in the heat.
But I still see you. I see you in the tiny pink hands of the new babies I pass, the fat maw, the chortle on a shoulder. I see you, a puzzle I’ll never complete, the hands of a son I will never hold, my son, who I can feel in my heart yet can never ever soothe to sleep. I have burned a bridge I cannot rebuild, and left you, listless in a wind.
I denied myself this for years, believing it wasn’t me, it wasn’t who I was. But my body screams it now, aches for it at night, that tiny heart beating inside me, that life growing, potential in a clutch of cells I harbour. Now, when I want so badly for this, it’s the one thing I will never, ever have again.
I shall wish you well in the crowds that hold your spirit, kiss you nightly on my heart.
It’s all I can do.