It’s been five years, five years since I told him to leave. Five years since I smashed that cake into his face screaming that old adage, “You can’t have your cake and eat it too even if you think you were the only one to bake it!”
Five years since I pushed and pulled his wooden wardrobe down my old spiral staircase. The gashes are still in the walls – like open wounds searching for sutures – where it became stuck, protesting its departure from the home it had known for eleven years.
A defeat washed over me knowing the protest of that wooden box was pi times any protest that ever could have arisen from the cake-covered lips had he even for one moment thought to protest. Three pairs of little eyes adorning the three little faces of our creative collaboration born of love, or so we said, was not enough to illicit even a backward glance.
Though so many years have passed by on the currents of this unpredictable wind called time, called age, called what-ifs and should-haves, I still find myself standing before some strange and yet familiar parallel universe where family still means one mother and one father and there are no steps separating me from them and there are no moments saturated with tears or sadness born of separation from mother, from father, from unity.
And sometimes – though not often, not anymore – I feel if I just reach out towards this other, this universe, that is just barely separated by some invisible barrier, I could go there. I could be there with them, together.
So close, so close, if only…if I…if only I could touch it. But I can’t and so a wave of remorse, of sadness, of grief washes over me. A tsunami recorded, playing on an eternal loop, loop, loop…
Then It comes, the realization, the knowledge that it is not simply a parallel universe but one that contains an infinite number of non-fractal realities. No replicas, no loops, but variations of my life. Like a rolling dice, a roulette wheel, a pick a card any card request, where it lands nobody knows, the assurance of the something better once teasing me to tears is no longer a given.
And so I stop, and I settle, and I find my center in the life I have now, here, in this place. My sorrow gives way to joy because he is gone and I am here. And I am home, their home. And the steps are not between us but beside us. Though they venture up them. They will always return home. They will always return to me.