Angel kiss. That’s what Mom calls it. A kiss from an angel when I was little leaving the faintest white mark, barely noticeable on my low neck when I wear my hair in a ponytail. I’m not bothered by it, rather the opposite, I am proud. Proud to have deserved the kiss of an angel to display on my skin as evidence that we aren’t alone in this world. We aren’t just bodies of matter taking up time and space according to scientists that mock the idea of God, faith and all things unproven by the Scientific Theory.
Sometimes I imagine it is burning, no more like tingling. Yes, tingling. A similar feeling to the hair standing up on the back of my neck when I think someone is watching me. I don’t have visions or can communicate with the dead, nothing like that, it’s my intuition, and it is heightened. That’s what Mom says.
I’m more sensitive. More in tune with my immediate environment. Better connected with mother Earth, people and it’s animals. All of it. It’s exhausting. It is information overload, most of the time. Too much stimulation assaults my senses all at once causing me to shut down, to hide, or escape to the solace of my bedroom.
My room is a cocoon of safety and familiar. I don’t have to process incoming stimuli or new information because I’ve done it a thousand times before. Nothing in my room has changed, nothing added, and nothing removed. It is the same from when I was a little girl to now. I don’t have toys or stuffed animals overflowing from every nook and cranny, quite the opposite, minimal, bare essentials except my closet.
That has changed. It had to. It held my clothes, shoes, sketchbooks, and journals. I can handle my closet changing, evolving over time to reflect the woman I am growing into. Where I lay my head naturally had to change from a crib to a bed but the ceiling with the glow-in-the-dark stars and the white wood letters spelling out my name are in the exact same place. Exactly where they were hung over a decade and a half ago.
My mom, Frances, get me. She understands me more than Dad.
He works, come home, eats dinner and drifts off to his study to do more work or watch TV or whatever he does in there. It’s not to say we are not close. We are, I guess if you ask him. We are as close as he lets us get which is probably why Mom and I are so close.
He isn’t abusive or angry, nothing like that. He is quiet, reserved, letting his girls do all the talking with an occasional small smile when we start laughing. I know he loves us. I see it in rare glimpses when my eyes dart up from my dinner plate to see him watching me before his eyes flickered back down to his plate.
Maybe if he had a boy, he would be different. He would be extroverted, talking boisterously about man stuff like sports and arguing over that final free throw from his favorite basketball team. Maybe he and his son would brag about how many fish they caught or birds they shot. They would be laughing when they walked through the back door with their prize catch. Mom would scold them on how smelly they are or how filthy their clothes were.
Maybe Dad is lonely, regretting not having a son after Mom miscarried a couple times after I was born. I never saw regret in his eyes. I never felt less loved in light of the losses. I knew they were unfulfilled dreams and that always made me sad.
In hindsight, maybe I pushed Dad out. Forging such a close relationship with Mom left no room for Dad. I didn’t mean to do it. It wasn’t intentional. I didn’t really even know it was happening until it was too late.
When Dad offered to show me how to fix the kitchen faucet or help with yard work, I always declined. I opted to bake cookies with Mom or sketch alone in my room. After too many declines, he stopped asking, and I stopped noticing. Now I feel guilty for all the missed opportunities. Dad gave me every chance to be close to him and I failed to take advantage of all of them. I failed to realize the distance I was unintentionally putting between us until it was too late. I severely regret it.
If I could reverse time and do it all over again, I would say yes every time he asked. I’d sit on the kitchen floor and ask about his day when he changed the garbage disposal. I’d hand him the tools he needed when he was changing the oil or adding new brake pads to the cars. I would learn to use the edger and trim the grass growing over the sidewalk while he mowed the lawn. Maybe I would have gone so far to help him clean out the attic every spring.
So many lost opportunities I let go by without considering the finality of every decision.
Maybe it took leaving and entering the scary adult world, to realize what I missed. That sense of loss if making me nostalgic. Perhaps some part of me wants to remain a child, where life is known, easy and expected. I know how to be a kid. I’ve got seventeen years under my belt, plenty of practice but being an adult, being on my own? Yikes, that’s scary.
Honestly, I don’t know how to take care of myself. I don’t know how to cook or pay bills or even how to drive. Mom showed me how to do laundry for the first time the other day since I’ll be going off to college. I’m convinced, if I never moved out, she wouldn’t show me at all.
She would have chosen to keep it a secret to make me dependent on her as equally as I give her purpose outside of Dad. No, that’s not fair. She has more purpose than washing my dirty socks but she actually seems to enjoy and take pride in taking care of her family. It’s a lost art now a days in the world of pencil skirts, ladder climbing and girlbosses. I should tell her how blessed I am to have her as my mom and my best friend. Then again, who am I to talk the feminist movement when our household is very traditional and somewhat sheltered from reality?
I’ve heard that word all my life. At church, with my friends, with my friend’s parents and just about everyone that Mom talks to. What’s wrong with being sheltered? People say it like it’s a nasty, four letter word but I don’t mind it. It provides comfort and security to my already overactive world.
To say I like someone else in the driver’s seat of my life is an understatement. I don’t like to take charge or make decisions on my own. It creates chaos in my brain and anxiety in my stomach. If I go with the flow, follow what my friends do or what my parents expect, it makes for virtually no strife. I strive for a no conflict life.
So far, it has worked out beautifully.
I enjoy coloring inside the lines, staying within the boundaries set for me and knowing what comes next. Expect the unexpected never described me.
Following the plan my parents devised is soothing and keeps my anxiety at bay. Plus, it ensured I’d go unnoticed in the world. That was my high school life goal. To blend into the background to the point that people would consider me a spineless, wet noodle.
When you pose a threat to others, you become a target, and I certainly didn’t have the muscle mass to take on anyone larger than a chihuahua. It takes courage to stand up for what I believe it, be bold in my convictions and that is a courage I don’t possess, nor have any intention of possessing.
I digress, I was talking about my relationship with Dad, not my fears, and weakness which are too many to mention. Hopefully, if I ever marry, Dad will like my husband. Maybe my husband will fill the void in Dad’s heart, be the quintessential son he never had. That’s the best I can hope for. The rest, well, I don’t know. Unanswered dreams, I guess.
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