I am not Catholic or Shinto. I do not pray to dead saints or relatives, but I find myself praying to God and asking him to pass along things to Perry. It is as if I am locked into this by my protestant background.
Other friends feel free to talk to loved ones. "Dad, take a ride with me," one whispers as he swings a leg over the black leather of a Harley seat. And off they ride.
I am somewhat envious.
Instead I am left praying to a God who has shown that my will does not make things happen. If I prayed on my knees for my child's safety, what hope do I have that he will pass along my love notes like some intermediary in Jr. High?
But I still pray. "Please tell Perry that I love him and miss him." My Daughter seems to accept this and it has become an extra step in her prayers, right behind the "I'm sorry for" section.
And sometimes "please tell him that I want him back."
As if he has much choice.
At times I wish I believed in reincarnation. That way there would be some chance that I could grow a new body in my belly and hold him in my arms again. But then he could also be born as the butterfles that dash into my windshield as I near his grave or the small red breasted bird I find cold and still in the driveway. Neither one of these is fine, I want him to lay in the newly mowed grass as a child and feel the blades as itches on his skin. I want him to dance across the kitchen as he blushes from his first kiss from a female who is not his mother. I want him to hold his own child. I want him to cry his own tears of loss and joy. I want him to live a long life with all the boredom, excitement, love, and heartache that real living entails.
But if he did have a choice, would he return to me? Would he visit me in my lonely moments or be drawn to the laughter of his sister as she dances with her arms wide open? Would he burrow into the safety of my womb?
I don't know. I think he loved me with all the simplicity that was Perry. With strong fists tangled in hair and smiles in the morning after his hunger was stilled.
I know I still love and miss him with a rawness that even a burn patient would be free of by now.
But some people think he should fit in some nice little box now in my mind, with tidy boundaries that do not bleed into every corner. That I should be over this fog that settles across my shoulders like a heavy velvet. I should be happy and smile for them and forget this little person that in their mind still inconviently intrudes upon them. "After all," they mutter, "it is time to move on.... "And silently 'because I am tired of it.... it does not suit me.'
They do not know me. They never knew him.
If they knew him or me they would not expect this as their due. Maybe they would cry with me. Or perhaps sometimes welcome his memory with a small smile as it flashes like sunlight through the dense trees.
He forged these brief smiles in the small time we had, with more patience as an infant than many adults. He didn't scream for no reason and learned to read my emotions with the clarity of a young baby tuned to his mother's needs. He gave without hiding his motivations. His motivations were not greedy beyond simple survival. He expected affection and love, not out of a sense of entitlement, but because he was never exposed to it's abscence.
Perry deserves my smile.
They do not.