Silence. Silence is over-rated. Silence is golden, but not so golden. I know silence because I have mastered it. My current read is ‘Silence is my mother tongue’ by Sulaiman Addonia and the last time I talked to anyone is months ago.
As I hit rock bottom and eventually made it my permanent home, silence is the only way to speak. Silence until you hear your own fading heartbeat. Silence until your legs warm up to the extremely cold water as you continue drowning. Silence until it becomes sharp and loud, your body disappearing into the blueness. That’s how much I relate to silence. That’s how much I am the silence.
Staring at my mirror, I touch the strings of my grey, white hair. Wrinkles staring back at me. Cheeks flabby like inflated balloons. How did I get old too fast to notice? If I died in this empty house or went missing right now, no one will notice immediately. The first person will notice a week later at least. In the midst of her shuffling between her busy schedules, it will strike her. Silence is not always good. She will remember. In the midst of her jolliness, she will remember me the way you remember that you left a child all alone at home or when you lose a toddler in a busy supermarket. Sudden. Almost in a panic. God knows she cares.
The second one will notice roughly a month later. No blame whatsoever because that’s how we roll.
My son would be the last one to realize. News would get to him as the stranger he’s become.
I lie down on my bed, hands stretched apart wondering how to do this the right way. He’s leaving the house. He wants to start a new life in a new city with some of his friends. He had said it so casually like I was but a nanny to him. How does one live alone after their entire lives revolved around one person and they left? How does a fifty five year old woman restart her life afresh? How do I break the habit of worrying about his asthma whenever the weather gets too cold? Or cook food just for one? How do I be myself without him?
He has grown now. He wants to go after his dreams. Build an empire of his own. Make new friends. Have a new family. But what does that leave me with?
I know how this works okay. I know. First comes in the distance. Then the busy schedules and less conversations. Then less visits home. Then the small talk, hurried phone calls. Then silence.
I know how this works because that is how it went down with everyone else. He was the only one left and that too, I am losing now.
I don’t want to be the selfish kind of mother. I don’t want to cage him. I don’t want to tighten my grip on him way too much until he slips away in between my fingers. He already slipped though. But how do I let go of him without losing him entirely? Is that even possible? Fathomable?
How do I start self-discovery at this age and time? How do I ask myself what is really my favourite meal after his, became mine? How do I identify what I love about life when I see a drone flying past and I smile because I love what he loves? Does that even make sense?
I don’t have friends. Okay, I have two out-of-this-world friends who have many other friends. That makes me very dismissible. Very much replaceable. I don’t have friends because I thought being a dedicated mother would cover it all. Because his friends became my friends and my sons too. Because I could always expect to walk into the house and see him with a group of them fighting over food. I didn’t prepare for this. No one prepared a single, obsessive mother of the day she will have to let go of not just her son, but her life as well. Because now, how do we untwine all that we have? Our entire lives? Emotions, Books, Thoughts, the pictures in the album, moments. How do we share them between us like, ‘This is mine, this is yours.’ How do I even know what was really mine for my own sake and what was mine because he was in it?
Listen to the silence in my room. In my house. In my big, empty house. It reminds me of my own soul. Lost within all the familiarity.
How do I love without being the enemy? How do I respect his decision of moving on without crying, without it eating me up like wasted wood on fire? How do I deal with nostalgia; the literally painful pangs of missing him without going insane? How do I become the good, understanding and supportive mother without losing my essence? The very thing I was living up for?
Apparently this is how life is. Everyone eventually leaves. Whether it is by travelling, going after dreams, changed priorities, death, unresolved matters, masks falling off…whatever it is, they eventually leave. How then can I hope for love as intense as my own from anyone? At this age and time? How then do I expect to ever get in return what I give out without holding anything back?
If I died or went missing, barely anyone would notice. And now, I am losing the only beautiful thing in my life. Tell me, tell me…how do I love and let go without losing him entirely?