Invictus

absence

Maybe not being able say “Happy Birthday” to your daughter on her thirteenth birthday is exactly what you need, so you can feel the depth of how low you have sunk this time.

The realness of the text message brought him back to reality, the same feeling he had been running away from.  It severed his heart.  And his heart bled shame.

He sat on the floor against the wall, at some junkies’ apartment or a cheap motel in which he bartered for shelter.  His phone slipped out of his hand to his side onto the floor.  He picked up his crack pipe with his other hand simultaneously, a movement so robotic it no longer required any thought, just the trigger of an addict’s feeling, if it deserves that much respect.  He exhaled the cloud of white smoke. It wasn’t the head rush, but rather the heaviness of his grief, that caused his head to collapse into his hands.  The pipe dropped and he let out a scream.  A wail that nearly emptied his soul.

On the other side of the world, or so it felt, I too, divulged a scream.  It was a cry of exhaustion. A plea of desperation. Okay, that sounds too elegant. It was more like an ugly explosion. I dropped to my knees with my hands cupped over my ears and I yelled as loud as my lungs would allow. I had to let go of the angush. The obligation of him I could no longer hold.  Like mothering a child, I was clinging to a responsibility.  But this burden was no longer mine to bear.

Happy Birthday my sweet girl.  May you never have to carry the burden of this man.  You are stronger without him. As am I. We are never broken.

Invictus.

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