I watch my mother as she waits for her legs to work. I watch my mother, waiting for the world to reorganize into some proper meaning. She contains intelligence that cannot be quantified, but now, shoved along in gusts of confusion cannot process how she once could. We are not machines. Whether that makes us goddamned or unbound I cannot say.
Her thoughts flitter and twist and get swept away from the course of road that lay before her. On their ballet shoe pointes they scrape and claw at the surface of what was, tenuously spin and slide, silent aside from her accompanying breath.
Her memories, these Brittle, Wind Dancers, vivid colors, sharp creases, unattached stems, individual parts of some disintegrating whole, blurring, a shifting organism, not a machine, but a life I could never qualify.
We sit, side by side, heart by heart. You are still stronger than me, sharing your tears. I am too weak to show mine. ” I have always loved you,” she repeated. “When you were bad, you were so bad. When you were good, you were so good” she said. Now, mom, I am good, and you always, you always did your best.
I cannot lose you. And you cannot lose me. Or your daughter. Or your husband. We will all grasp tightly the unquantifiable that is still your life. We, the four of us will weave it together, twisting the short and delicate fibers of life into a fabric that will not tear no matter how many times we wrap ourselves within it when we are cold, or use it to shield us from the glaring light of unbearable truths.
When there come times when we feel pain and loss and have no fibers at hand to bind together, we will return to our memories, shear them like the wool from a young ewe, gently work our wire brushes through the strands, imperfect, delicate on their own, tough, when bound together. Again, and again. Lamb after lamb. Season after season. Age after age. Love compounds love. Memory is restored, vivid, still part of this one whole cloth that you yourself have woven. It becomes you, this gift of all ages. I understand love. This, mom, is your greatest gift to me.
Let us hold this woven cloth around you. Grant you some respite from these gusting winds. Let us protect your thoughts, as they push and fade, bringing with them fear and despair. Let us set ourselves as baskets on the ground about you, collecting your precious thoughts to be held sacred within us. Be to the damned, and glory, these vivid and fading colors—they, like you —are the most true of the Brittle, Wind Dancers.