Things are not how they used to be. She comes into my room to say goodnight, like she always does. But I hug her and won’t let go, when she turns my face towards hers she saw I was crying. When I was younger, I cried like thunder, I cried like there was no tomorrow, I cried without tears. Now I’m older and my tears are wiser, like the end of a warm rainfall, with more purpose. She tells me she has been doing the meditation practice Tonglen for me. It is a nice gesture, but I am pretty sure it isn’t working. My entire body is bad energy, it is numbness and desperation. No energy, not anymore. I had taken long baths and walks and lit candles and burned incense and eaten all the good foods in the world, really, you name it, fried chicken and BBQ and ice cream and everything. I had eaten the moon and the sun and nothing had filled me. I am almost willing to go around the house burning sage if there is any remote possibility that will help. I am helplessness, I am hopelessness. I am living in a cloud, it is grey and suffocating, and makes me forget. I guess the worst part is that I have no one to blame it on except myself and nothing to do about it. I want to tell her everything. Everything about how I feel, and how bad it all is. But the minute I try to my words tie and are stuffed back down my throat, swallowed dry. I want to apologize for the pain I’ve caused her, because I know how hard it is to be around someone like me. She says some other things about my energy and “this too shall pass”, but I am tuned out for that bit. My eyes are focused ahead on my bookshelf. On my bookshelf sit items from my many journeys across vast universe, but I am fixed on two wooden cats my dad brought back from Vietnam. When I got them, my mom told me that she thought they were silly, but my dad insisted on getting them for me. She was right. They are kind of ridiculous. One is tall and brown with a twine bow, and the other is short with explosions of color. And l have no clue what they have to do with Vietnam. But they are also beautiful, and balanced each other in a strange way. Crazy as it is, they make sense to me. I conclude that the wooden cats are, in fact, an insightful purchase, I tune back into the conversation my mother is having with herself. She picks up my stuffed puppet beaver, a toy she had gotten when she was very little, and is now mine. “He always used to cheer up your sister,” and she becomes the puppeteer, a quite convincing act. He does really come alive whenever she is around. He is old, so old his fur is all matted up and eyes are completely covered by it.
“I don’t think he’s ever been washed. Can you imagine going your whole life without a bath? He really is old,”.
She switches into her beaver voice, “No I’m not”
“Yes you are, we’re both old.”
“Who you callin old, lady?”
And on and on she goes. I can’t remember a time Beaver wasn’t by my side, and for a moment, things cleared up a tiny bit.