“Your grandfather needs pictures” my mother says. She starts rattling off the snapshots I’m not only supposed to remember but somehow saved. They weren’t mine. “You have those, dont you?” is her demand. Right. No, actually I don’t. What you are remembering was caught by an ex. Remember graduation? One of those good-for-nothing leeches you say I used and abused? It was his camera with you directing. I’m not about to go calling him up just so I can satisfy your guilty need to produce pictures. Find your own smiling memories. Please. I bury my heart because I refuse to go there. To think that someone kept images of me around long after I left is plain ridiculous. Why would I assume he cared that much, or cares still 23 years later? I would be embarrassed to think as much.
There is a reason why I bury my heart. I’m just not that good at thinking I matter all that much. I can talk myself out of lunch dates, dinner invitations, gab sessions because of second guessing. Why, I do not know.
Last night Kisa wanted to visit his oldest, bestest friend. He promised they were going to sit on the couch, do nothing but keep one eye on Mickey Mouse and one eye on Monkey. Not much. I could come if I wanted. Really! Within minutes I was finding excuses to stay behind. Why? Because in those same ticking seconds I was reading between the lines hearing ‘It will be boring for you, We’ll be leaving out of the conversation most of the time, I’ll have a better time without you.’ In the blink of an eye I had convinced myself my husband didn’t want me there despite the fact he never said as much.
Where is this coming from? Why am I convinced invitations come my way only because it’s the polite thing to do? Why am I expecting relief when I back out and say no? I fully admit I like my solitude. I enjoy sitting by the fire with a good book, rocking with a glass of wine in my hand. My mouth doesn’t open for hours. Silent except crackling fire and squeaking rocking chair. Have I closed in upon myself like a night blooming jasmine at daybreak? Shrouded in self.
No, I will not reach out to an exboyfriend for old pictures of us. Whether or not he still has them isn’t the issue. No, the issue is this – I cannot want to think he does.