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Last Dance For Mary Jayne: Part 3: 1/14/14

In Should I Even Be Talking About This?, Writing on January 13, 2014 at 12:08 pm

My brother  (an Irish twin, just ten months my junior) -who lived near me in Florida, picked me up after we’d both hastily packed what few winter clothes we had in carry- on bags for the trip up north. We’d made hasty travel arrangements and were short on time The day was full of surreal moments…carrying a long, gray winter coat through the airport’s open-air parking garage in the 80 degree sunshine (in two hours I’d need the coat, which seemed unthinkable in the current warmth) exchanging glances with my brother over our shared experience, all various takes on defeatist glances, sad eyes, shrugged shoulders and random sighs. Being rushed was somewhat of a godsend-it kept us busy, as we hopped from counter to counter and pushed through the airport. I noticed every mother and child with a diamond-sharp clarity, and marveled at how casual they looked, as if to say: of course I have a mom! Doesn’t everyone? Because that was me, yesterday.

We had one more security checkpoint to go through, when an odd thing happened. My brother was striding as quickly as he could, and urging me on, well out in front of me. I had to wait for my bags to clear. The security guards had walked away from their post after I proceeded through, as there was no one behind me. Rob was pulling away in the distance, irritating me by not waiting. When my things came through, I quickly adjusted my carry-on, purse, and heavy winter coat, and glanced over at the security kiosk, out of which my bag had just appeared on the conveyor belt.  I noticed something sitting atop the the x-ray machine, a piece of paper, maybe a plane ticket? I reached for it, and was startled to be holding a bookmark. I looked behind me and in front, scanning for an owner, but no one was there. It was weirdly quiet, and no one was within fifty feet of where I stood. I took in the words on the bookmark, which read:

‘I AM THERE,

‘Do you need me? I am there. You cannot see me, yet I am the light you see by. You cannot hear me, yet I speak through your voice…..’

And so on and so forth. I froze, then felt dizzy. Bookmarks were ‘our thing’. I’d spent countless hours debating and debunking the existence of God, the afterlife, religious tales, and yet at that moment- as ridiculous as it sounds, I felt my mother was speaking to me. It was shocking. In the distance, my brother let out a two-fingered whistle and implored me to ‘hurry up!’. Though my feet felt steeped in cement, and my heart was drumming with shock I managed to get going. I held the bookmark against my chest as I worked my legs up into a fast walk and caught up with my brother, bags flailing. We were ushered directly onto our plane and into our seats, where  I stared into space, still stunned, until my brother nudged me. Evidently, the flight attendant had been trying to get my attention- it was time to fasten my seat-belt.  Once we were in the air I told my brother what had happened and showed him the bookmark. “Wow” he said, and not much more. He didn’t see it as I did (no big surprise- we’re very different) He hadn’t experienced what I did. It was as if it was our mom (maybe?) was saying ‘I’m somewhere’ instead of ‘I no longer exist’. I put the bookmark in my wallet carefully for safe-keeping, and braced myself for what lay ahead.

Looking back, I can see that the bookmark was a mundane coincidence.  But a tiny part of me will always remember that feeling of- what it would feel like to have my mom reaching out to me in such a personal way, using something that meant so much to us. I don’t believe in God per se (there are just too many awful things ‘he’ neglects to intervene in, including proof of his own existence) and I doubt there’s an afterlife, so I look at the here and now as all there is and no, it’s not sad, it makes sense to me. This is my one shot to live the life I  want to live.

But if I happen to be wrong, (and I’d be cool with being incorrect–after all, who could resist the notion of eternal existence? A forever of me, me, me!) and if there is something in the great beyond, I won’t exactly be pissed off. I’ll roll with it, and chalk my doubt up to using the logical side of my brain, issued to me by said supreme being. And then I’ll ask  why he stopped with the grand gestures, why he didn’t part the sea or turn water into wine during my lifetime, why all the secrets? Why no receipts?

I still have that bookmark and when I run across it I look at it with the curiosity of a spectator at a magic show. Is it special? It is to me.

Life is different without a mother, if you were lucky enough to have one. There will never be anyone who so unconditionally loves me and wants the best for me, no one I can call and vent in that certain way, no one I can ask the questions about my past that only she has the answers to. I still feel a tinge of jealousy towards me friends who still have moms-especially since they can’t possibly properly appreciate them until they’re gone.

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