Poorly folded penguin
I will always remember my tiny basement room. Our cave.
We spent hours, days, weeks - hiding away.
It was not long after it all happened..
After she tried to kill herself,
that we moved in.
You were so tall, and the walls were so low.
But it was perfect. It was what we needed.
A little space to call our own.
But that’s when the changes began. The deepness rolling through your bones.
Death, and almost-death, changes you. I should know.
Trauma. Traumatic events, making you bend and bow.
Folding into your head.
You screamed - “DON’T LOOK AT ME!!”
- and hid under a pile of blankets and pillows.
I wasn’t allowed to touch you sometimes. So fragile, so tender.
Other times, you couldn’t bare not to be held. So delicate and subdued.
You melted into yourself, as I mothered and cared for you.
Holding you while you cried. Bathing together in a smoke-filled tub.
Loving you, even when you became manic, and depressive,
needing every part of me.
I poured my light over and through you, completly.
Sometimes, it feels so unfair; that I carried you through this, and myself;
and you still left me.
You couldn’t handle me.
You got better. Well, maybe?
You got different.
There was a space she made that night, inside of you,
that I just couldn’t fill.
I just can’t fill.
I’m proud of you, really, for finally giving yourself this time.
For trying to pour your own light into yourself.
But it still hurts, I’m still in pain.
I hold no blame. This is life. This is love.
But it still hurts.
and I’m still in pain.
Sleeping on our floor bed, playing toss the ball in the hole.
We tried so many things, took up so many hobbies in that room.
We would trapes around charity shops, collecting games, and things to do.
Dim music, and reading in softly lit corners.
Blanket forts and talking about the deepest parts of ourselves.
The silence, that was always comfortable.
I loved it all. Every part of it.
Even our darkest moments.
It was real. It was us.
Our foundations were strong, but the land on which we chose to build,
was soft and low-slung. Even the people with the greenest fingers would have struggled to grow something lasting here.
One of my fondest memories, is making origami.
I watched, as you’d chew your tounge with concentration.
You were so good at it, and I was terrible.
Your brain worked like that- intricately and steps ahead.
You showed me how. Step-by-step, we would fold together.
Once a teacher, always a teacher. You had such patience.
We sat for hours, in our glowing cave, folding, crimping, crumpling;
You were so delicate. Just like those pieces of paper.
Once you make a fold, you can’t unfold it. Well, you can, but you will always see that first fold. It will always be there, visible to the trained eye.
And I suppose that’s like a trauma brain -
once the trauma has been made, you can’t undo it.
You can flatten it, and it can be unfolded, but that dent,
that dent, will always be there.
You will always see the trauma, in some form.
It will change, and lessen, but it will always be there.
And that is why, I can wish you the best.
That is why I can understand.
Why I can let you go, so peacefully.
Why I can’t hold you back.
I have to let you find your spark again.
I have to let you grow.
To find a new groove, that fits this era of your life.
Maybe one day, we will find eachother again.
Maybe we can find new land, to place our foundations and build.
But maybe not.
I know that we will see eachother on the otherside, when we are older and wiser.
A spark reignited in us both.
We will come full-circle, as you so fondly say.
Just in a different way.
So, until then,
I will hold my poorly folded penguin, so close to my heart,
and remember the sweetness of our love,
the sweetness of our possibilities.