For the People I’ve Known Without Parents.

It seems so unfair that the world could be organized in such a way that someone could take you away from the place you came from. It’s more unfair that this could be seen as the best option.

I want to argue with that idea, but I don’t have the background to make a case more convincing than you could. Is anyone in favour of taking kids away from their parents unless they really have to? I’ll try anyway. It seems like the only fair thing to do.

I’m not sure how seriously to take the idea that someone other than your birth-parent could decide what’s best for you on your behalf. But I also know well enough that sometimes a birth-parent isn’t exactly your best option. In those circumstances, where the world has seen fit to send you out without a worthy advocate, should we just be grateful that someone cared enough to try? Nobody’s perfect.

I wonder what it must feel like to have never met your parents. I guess you’d met them, in a sense. I mean– I wonder what it must feel like to not remember what they were like. Are they like a foggy mirror in your mind? Are they just a blank space in a photograph? Are they the feeling in your body that is an emptiness in front of you?

You tried to articulate it a few times, but it didn’t really ever land. I couldn’t make sense of it. No matter how you phrased it, you and I both know that sort of sentiment could never congeal in a mind that never brushed it. You could say the words, but I didn’t know the music. I just had to trust that you were walking me in the right direction.

It seems like something that was worth forgetting when you could manage. But I could see that there were times you couldn’t forget. The feeling just snuck up on you sometimes. Often you were happy to talk, for as long as it took to get tired. And then you told jokes. They weren’t bad jokes. But they smelled sweet and like ghosts– or like nail-polish remover. They weren’t what they looked like. They were meant to be something else.

It was the attempt that warmed me up to you. It was like watching a butterfly crawl out of a coccoon, or a line of ducklings follow their mother. Or a flower blooming, even though it had some caterpillar bites on the stem and on the petals. A natural resilience that you couldn’t help, that was admirable.

It must have been easier to forget. Life wants to carry on, it doesn’t want to suffer and get dragged into malfunction. I wish I could thank you for sharing with me what you could. I told you so, at the time, but I don’t think it landed. I hope the effort made it easier to bear– if just a little– or maybe less confusing.

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