And then I hear that song and my heart starts to water with compassion. I wish so much sometimes that things had been different. I remember the children. I carry them in my memory. Samantha, Hailey, David, Heida, Elliott, Jose, Diego, Henry, Adulfo, Eddie, Juan. I’m forgetting names. I’m never going back. I’m never going back. I may never see them again. I will disappear from their minds.
I disappear. I am gone. I don’t exist. Its not about self-importance. Its just that I loved them. I loved them. I wanted for them. Here, here is how you survive with parents who don’t see you. This is how you survive sexual abuse. This is how you survive domestic abuse. Here I give you these lessons. This is how you survive being called fat. This is how. And you can thrive. You were made to thrive! I am so sorry. Come, lets go ride bikes! Come, lets have a pizza party! Come, lets talk on the porch!
They would come to my house looking for justice. “Grace Jugo hit me and took my bike without asking!” “Grace Hailey fell down and won’t stop crying!” Justice. Their little hearts wanted to be seen. I saw them. I understood. Jugo was the liar. He was always hitting the other kids. He was always lying and calling kids names. I would look at him. “You are such a gentlemen.” I would call him my little gentlemen. The kids had started to call him a fag. Who are they to decide? I would tell him what that meant. All things aside, I knew he was spoiled with things but not given hugs. I knew he was believed for every lie he told. Some are abused by the hand. Some by neglect and some through spoiling. I feel so bad for the spoiled. They have no idea the harm that they will cause. The parents have no idea. They just want to give their kids a life they never had. They don’t want to give their hearts. They want to give their money, fake attention, and keep their children from all pain. You can’t go back to the past. You must keep going as you unravel the chains.
If I went back it would never be the same. Life has changed. It has moved. I hope one day I will find that they made it. I hope some of them make it. I know they won’t all because life can be so ugly. Elliott would sit beside me. He would just sit. I wish they were here with me. I wish. Jose. An old soul who bore too much. Some things in life are harder to let go of than others. Letting those boys go. The grief. I can’t articulate. People are irreplaceable.
One day I will have many children. Maybe not from my womb but in my life. There is still a refinement that must happen. I must give up the anxiety, the neediness, the fear, any lurking bitterness. I have to look at myself in the mirror. One day I will give all of my love. All my love. For now I labor to learn to love me. I work to tear down the tainted toxicity that still rushes through my veins.