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I love you. I see you. 

I love the little boy I see inside. The one that when you think no one sees ,you let out through a distant glare in your eyes. The one that you allow to cry in fear that he will be destroyed but never in joy to celebrate their survival.  The one I witnessed saving animals. The one I made wishes on  stars with. The one who always had to have the better chair while watching tv.  The one I told all my secrets to. The one I witnessed and witness in brief moments when you sit – too closely -or too far from others  . He struggles to come out .  The one you don’t want anyone to see. The one you can’t seem to find.  I know he is in there. I don’t have the energy to keep trying to wake him up. My little girl needs love from me. 

I feel guilty for betraying him. I wanted him back. I think he knows. I hope he knows.  

Three moments stick out in my mind from childhood. I suppose it is because it was unusual. We were playing catch as we did with neighbors when not too scared. As we usually were too scared. Too shy. Too suffocated by repression. Out of nowhere you said , “My sister is the best catcher I know”, or something to that effect. I think I remember it because I never felt seen and that day you saw me. 

The second moment is me going over to sleep with you. We were 7 or 8.  I clung to you, still innocent. I don’t remember what you said. I remember my response. I was ashamed to say it. “I have feelings too and when you say things like that they hurt.”  You laughed after I said it. I like to think it was awkwardly. Maybe, I had already begun to lose you. Maybe, you had already begun to lose yourself. I don’t blame you.  I know the reasons. 

The third is you telling me how you were going to run away. I was petrified. I would be left alone without my best friend. Remember ? I ran and told our mother, to make sure you wouldn’t. You were only running to a neighbors house, but to a little girl , who felt as you did it was too far.  I wanted you to take me with you.  I am sorry I told her. I am sorry I didn’t give you the chance to run.

Maybe , today would be different.

 I love your incredible shyness, turning your head when others  spoke to you. If I could go back I would hug you so hard until you turned around and answered confident and loud and confident like – “My name is ____ and I am amazing.” 

I get a sick feeling in my stomach when I think of it. If only I could have. 

I love that when they left you spoke to me. I knew you could. I knew you were funny. I knew you were sweet. I knew you were SCARED. I knew you were falling. I didn’t know how to catch you. I was falling right behind you as I followed. 

That is who I love. It will always be the one I love. I know you don’t believe in my disease and the incredible things that come with it. Last year, I was very sick. My brain was not well. I constantly shifted between two realms. I had this vision once. It was not a dream but a real vision. I will never forget it. You me and others were embracing . We were full of joy. It was like the first time we were seeing each other. There were no masks, only those kids inside struggling to come out. And we embraced. I was so happy as I  laid in my bed because I knew it would one day happen. I also knew it would not happen on this earth. 

I can’t wait for that day. 

I love even the mask you have created. I know it is there for your survival, like everyone. However, I am too sick to handle it. I used to just ignore it and try to catch the distant glares.  I can’t anymore. 

I can’t wait for that day. 

I love you. I see you. 

M

Stefanie