You were 33 when you had me and tried for long years to do so because I was wanted– that’s what you said in the red leather-gilt journal you gave me. I read it once all the way through, have read it a few times since then, haven’t read it much recently, and maybe it’s time.
You were 35 when you had my brother and wanted him too.
I was 27 when I put a name on this thing that was nameless for years but that caused me such pain. You were 63 and your break was sharper than mine but both of us wallowed and mired for years, up and down, neither one of us truly happy for long. At age 31 or thereabouts you really hurt me (and maybe I really hurt you) and we didn’t talk for a while. After a while I picked up the phone when you kept calling and I started answering as you talked about what was happening with you when I asked. Sometimes I volunteered things about me whether you asked or you didn’t. It hurt, but I talked to you anyway, knowing in my head that you tried even as my heart didn’t believe it. I was about 33 when that happened, the same age you were when I was born.
Now I’m 35 and late to the game and in my second-third-fourth-I’ve-lost-count adult-breakdown-rebirth (though I’d hardly call this spring’s mind-labor nearly so painful as last year’s, and isn’t that what they say about child-birth, it’s not as bad as the first ) I’m realizing the simple truth of something I saw and heard in a movie. “Hurt people hurt people.” Nature or nurture, both of us hurt, and we may hurt in the future. If we do, if you do, if I do, I’m sorry for that in advance, and I want you to know that I’m trying. And I want you to know that I know and believe, not just with my head, but my heart, for the first time, that you’re trying, that you always were trying, whether or not you failed or succeeded, and that it’s the trying that matters.
You asked me, back when I was about 33 and we were first talking again, that you hoped someday I would forgive you, and I want you to know that now, a little bit late (but better than never), I think I understand.
There’s nothing to forgive, there’s only to try. And I will.