At the keyboard I could lose myself in pages dissecting love. What else, after all, is my job as a wife, mother, daughter, and sister, but to love? We writers cut ourselves apart each time we put pen to paper, searching through the past and the pending for that ultimate point of light, the perfect way to expose the world in just the right way to show our truth.
But to bare all is to risk spilling a trail of white blood as the page itself bleeds with burning words that turn this craft into a betrayal rather than an act of love.
I can still see the candles of this year’s birthday cake, my children’s faces reflected in their glow.
“Make a wish, Mommy!”
I blew out the candles, but didn’t get them all in one breath. And the lighting wasn’t good for the photo.
So the candles were lit again, which was great, because I hadn’t been able to think of a wish the first time. Well, not a real, “I want it with every fiber of my being” kind of wish.
“Make a wish, Mommy!” the twins said again. I looked from their perfect, innocent faces to the candles dripping wax on the cream cheese icing, and I had my wish. A wish I could wish with my whole heart. They helped me blow out the candles, and the second time, between the three of us, we got them.
I wish I could stop being too aware of the pending; to write my truth about the now, without fearing reactions that make me feel silenced. I wish I could feel comfortable writing that the top of the cake was spattered with blue wax and a fair amount of child spittle, and that it was delicious and we all ate it anyway without a second thought. I wish I could pour my soul onto these pages and hit “publish” without fear. Fear of exposing anything too personal about my children, fear of angering people who might not want to be mentioned in my personal writings, fear of more real world consequences like having my primary care doctor fire me from his practice after reading a blog post.
Oh, I wish. I wish I could write about the parts of my children’s education that keep me up at night without wondering if the whole PTA will have read it by the next meeting. I wish certain of my friends in real life weren’t uncomfortable with the fact that I write about depression, anxiety, and postpartum depression.
Sometimes I even wish I’d thought to be guarded enough to make my blog anonymous so that I could say anything.
And yet, I wish for the courage to stay here, to keep my name, and to write it all anyway. I wish for the wisdom to practice this craft responsibly, without recklessness, and yet honestly. And for the strength to withstand the consequences that may bring.
This piece was written for the online writers’ workshop Write on Edge. This week’s prompt was part of their new challenge to write at the merge of two ideas. For this prompt we were given the word “wish,” and the song “Past and Pending” by The Shins. This new Write at the Merge challenge has a standing 500 word limit.