Live wires beyond the fade
February 11, 2023
I'm not much for looking back these days. If we've parted ways and I've processed what needs processing, I don't give the past much thought without good reason. Sometimes the door gets nailed shut because any sort of engagement is destructive. Sometimes it's shut because that part of my past isn't interesting. If it was interesting, I'd still be looking at it. Trust me, it's better this way.
There are periodic knocks at the door. I don't mind them. I'm not particularly triggered (refer to paragraph 1, sentence 2) one way or another, but I walk away because I shut that door for a reason.
Sometimes a door gets nailed shut with collateral damage locked behind a Berlin Wall. I do think about the collateral damage and for the most part, there isn't anything I should do about it. I'm thinking mostly about adult children who weren't adults when the door got shut and the wall went up. I'm not comfortable with that sort of loss and I recognize that most of the time it's best just left alone.
But that doesn't mean I'm not thinking about you. It doesn't mean I don't care. It doesn't even mean I wouldn't like some sort of relationship; I'm just not willing to risk the communal equilibrium by reaching out. But I am thinking about you. You do matter to me.
I'm not much of a stalker for the same reasons. By stalking, I mean asynchronous voyeuristic internet searches and social media tracking. I'm not even very good at it despite being an excellent analyst. Throw a handful of matchsticks on the floor and I'll give you a Rainman pattern in about 30 seconds. People aren't matchsticks.
Sometimes I go looking and sometimes I get more than I bargained for. While I'm getting an update on your life, I'm often getting updates on things I didn't see coming. Your parents got divorced, somebody died... I'm so sorry this happened to you. I'm sorry I wasn't there to help. I'm surely glad I wasn't there to make things worse.
A couple of you got married and had babies. I can't for the life of me wrap my head around that because in my memory and in my heart, you're still fifteen years old. But there you are all grown up and beautiful with families of your own. Can I tell you how proud I feel in those moments? Nope. I can't. But I am.
If you are one of those adult children who got shut, for better or worse, behind a wall, I'm sorry. You haven't faded to nothing, or nearly nothing. You're a live wire beyond the fade and sometimes the reality of you shoots up out of the mist in a technicolor bouquet of life and I take it all in - the good, the bad, the inconceivable - I take it all in.
I remember you. I care about you. If I loved you, I still do.