While coming out of the drive-thru at Starbucks, I spot them.
The man/boy with his perfectly gelled hair. He is tall and muscular and dressed in the latest jeans and a trendy overstated T-shirt with a plain long-sleeve shirt thrown over it loosely for warmth. He tucks his shirt in while walking. He can feel her gaze. He warmly accepts it while simultaneously not wanting to give recognition to the direction it comes from.
She gets out of the passenger side of the car and tucks her keys into the latest designer purse. The light is flat so her sporty sunglasses are apropos even though she is dressed rather business-like. She walks just a pace or two behind him, trying to gain distance in each confident stride to match his pace as they cross the parking lot together. In those few seconds, she has the priveledge of giving him the once over, to admire the man he is becoming.
She is the proud mother of a son who is almost a man.
I catch my breath and choke back the tears.
March has begun. It always brings with it a cloud of remembrance. I do my best to hold onto concrete realities which imbed me in my life.
My son would be eighteen this month. He would have been in the midst of his senior year. I walk to the elementary to pickup my daughter and pass all the restless teenage drivers whose cars are speeding to be uncaged from their day of routine.
I look for reassurance in those faces which are absorbed with the excited trepidation of youth which will soon be released into this vast world.
I try every year to focus on the beauty of the relationship I still have with him in spirit. However, if I deny myself the honesty I need to continue to heal from a life-long injury then I will crumble under it's pressure. I just have to go through it and know "this too shall pass" without any lofty spiritual notions in my periphery. I just need to be human.
Sometimes I don't want to be the 'strong' person or have the brave heart. I allow myself time to just curl up in a ball and cry my eyes out remembering how awful it was to loose him. I allow that powerlessness to overwhelm my senses. My gut aches, my eyes swell, and I cry until the tears won't come any more as my daughter sleeps as not to worry her.
My husband knows. He holds my hand. He gives me space. He is my partner in every way.
My dear friend has invited me to her son's graduation. She honors Jessie with each milestone her son passes and I can't thank her enough as she continually thinks of how to include me. I treasure her.
Women like her remind me what an amazing village this Earth of ours is.
I go into March knowing all the light I have encountered in this world far outshines the darkness. Yet, I don't deny the darkness when I see it. This is just one of the times of year where I choose to recognize the hold it has over some and remember how I want to show-up in spite of it.
I miss my son.