Stories We Tell
A Fictional Series
When Delilah was about three or four, I lost her in the grocery store. I found her – thank God – and the whole ordeal makes for an amusing anecdote, but that’s not the story I want to share at the moment.
After I told Levi what had happened, she said that we needed to sit down and have a serious talk that evening. I imagined the worst, of course. Levi was going to tell me how irresponsible I was – and then she was going to leave me.
That’s what I figured because… well… I carry around some baggage. Like I said before, my childhood was good. I had a handful of friends and plenty of male role models, but that doesn’t mitigate the fact that my mother took off when Dizzy and I were young.
Being abandoned by your own mother is a feeling that slithers around inside of you like a serpent. Some days it sleeps, and you forget it’s there – but there are those ‘other’ days, when it becomes active… and it lashes out and strikes.
I wouldn’t call it sorrow because I never spent enough time with her to really know her, or to love her well enough to miss her. My mother was ill. She had severe depression and a few other mental challenges that kept her out of our reach.
So, as far as sorrow goes, all of my early memories are of my father, and witnessing his sorrow. What I do experience, on the other hand, is the feeling that – at any given moment – the people that matter the most to me will inevitably walk out.
As it happened, Levi didn’t lecture me about losing Delilah, and she wasn’t going to leave me. She had another item on her agenda that evening – which was the fact that she felt pressured by me, because I expected nothing but ‘greatness’ from her.
What a shock that was to hear. And a relief.
I had spent years praising Levi for her greatness, but it wasn’t until that evening – when she opened up about her feelings – that I realized my words weren’t necessarily accolades, they were tools. Flattery was my way of holding onto her – of winning her over – so that she’d never want to leave me.
It’s not like I was lying. She was my world, and so was Delilah once she was born, but my compliments were words that I didn’t need to think about. They simply spilled from my mouth through the force of habit. Empty words, in a sense, but certainly not untruths.
It’s funny how it all turned out. By the time the night was over, Levi and I crossed some major hurdles. I explained to her that the ‘greatness’ that I praise her for had more to do with her resilience than her abilities.
It’s not so much that she’s the best, it’s that she can make the best out of the worst… and that’s an enduring quality.
And something else happened that night. I learned that holding onto someone doesn’t require constant praise, or squeezing them so tight that it’s like that serpent inside of me has wrapped around them – keeping them bound and constrained.
To the contrary, holding onto Levi required being open, and that openness offered my nasty slithering snake a way out… and away he went.
A Note From Me
I’m keeping it short again because it’s late… again. I’ve been doing more dog sitting and keeping busy – so time is now a hot commodity.
I haven’t been in the mood to write, but I suddenly had the urge tonight and thought I’d try to finish this one up. Maybe one or two to go and then it’s on to next.
The image is weird. I seriously thought about using a photo from one of those free sights, to save me time, but I thought a snake would be easy. Well, nothing is ever easy.
So an hour or so later there I was, just trying to make it a little more snazzy than a tube with a tongue – haha! And then I found an effect that made it look as though he was under water so I thought – “that’s a wrap!”
Anyway, that’s about all for now.
Thank you for reading… I hope you enjoyed tonight’s story!
Word of the Day Challenge: Sorrow