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  • ... and Momma,

    I have a history of you in my heart.

    Like, you had a way of swirling caramel onto apples during fall days in warm kitchens. It was you leading a symphony, holding the popsicle stick like a baton, plunging it into the crisp flesh of the apple, spinning the fruit around the side of the speckled-blue porcelain pot and into the hot, syrupy goo. Up! And then a plunge back in! A twist, briskly, deftly out, down went the delight onto wax paper with a wet splat, no caramelized drop wasted. With riveted eyes level to the stovetop, I'd watch the cooling while standing at your side, holding your apron. Once, you turned your back, so I decided I should steal a taste and bolt for the yard. The heat of the caramel burned, but licking candied fingers in secret soothed that.

    You turned your back on purpose, I think. I chose the scalding, paid the price for a sweet reward. Did ... you ... orchestrate that lesson?

    You've become 85. I've watched you sleeping in your chair, your pretty face so bone-white and lined. I've listened to your words arrive in stilted thoughts, when once they were so sharp and witty. That same body that taught me how to love music and dance somehow, now, shuffles along while gripping a walker. At 61, I'm still electing to burn myself. Can't keep my fingers out of the sticky mess. I still lick my wounds in private, preferring to be a me alone. You see, my momma, I had to leave! I could no longer condone having a solid ground beneath me obscure the far horizon before me. Oh, the mysteries in the distance. That's where I'm stumbling, to nurture your son's raison d'etre, and my god I feel clean for it.

    Momma, when it's your time to fly beyond us, will your essence dance like it did and paint like it did and inscribe poetry like it did and script loving words on too many unanswered notes? Will it still selflessly care despite the ache? Will it again make caramel apples? Choose that for spirit, momma, because that's the history of you I have in my heart, the heart to which you so lovingly, unselfishly, victoriously gave wing ...

    I


    treasure


    you ...



    ("Far away" is illusion.)
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