I look everywhere for signs of loneliness. I’m a connoisseur.
It all crept up on you, in the night it got you
And plagued your mind, it plagues your mind
Every day that passes, faster than the last did
And you’ll be old soon, you’ll be old
Do you like the person you’ve become
Bastille – Weight Of Living, Pt. 2
* * *
My dreams last night did not comfort.
I’ve only woke up crying one other time that I can remember. It was when I dreamt of my dead father.
The O’Callaghans die alone.
My grandfather. His wife abandoned the family. He never remarried. Mom disowned him before I could ask him if he ever loved again. We didn’t go to his funeral.
My great aunt. She never married. No children. She may have been a lesbian, but if she ever loved someone, it went unsaid.
My uncle. Homeless, riding trains. No one knows what happened to him. Did he ever love someone?
My mother. She tried. Married three times, divorced three times. She gave up after that. “I still love him,” she said of her last husband—more than 20 years after their stormy marriage ended.
Mom asked me once after my divorce, “Have you ever been in love?”
I thought about it for a moment, I had certainly been smitten by a couple of women but things ended too quickly, or never went anywhere to begin with, to know if it was love.
“No, I don’t think so,” I replied.
She looked at me and said, “Well I hope that you do get to experience that—even if it doesn’t work out. It’s a really great thing.”
Shortly before she died she said that she never felt loved. It’s a family legacy I want no part of. And yet I struggle.
I remember a carved wooden plaque we had hanging in our house when I was young. It was the kind of thing you see nailed to a post in front of a house or above the entry. It read:
But just below that was carved:
Mom was trying to distance herself from the legacy too.
I’ve had a lump pushing up my throat the last few days. Sometimes it feels like I’m going to vomit. I know I’m holding back. I don’t want to feel.
So it leaks out in my sleep instead.