Matt, time was passing quickly and surprisingly without any drama. I have to admit this new normal was right up my alley. I spent several more weekends, some by surprise some with warning that the mom police was coming. I really wanted this to be us. The us I prayed for all the years we fought your battle. I was finding myself relaxing a little. You were still spending more time at Lisa’s than our place, but now the house looked cared for. No dirty dishes growing mold in the sink, grass cut. I would tend to the flower beds that Natt left behind and remember how the three of us fussed over what plants would look best. God, I missed the three of us, everywhere I looked I saw Natt. I felt myself grieving for the girl I wanted so badly to be your wife, to give me those little babes that would be the most beautiful children with your eyes and Natts face, but as they say life goes on and now there was Lisa. There were times when I knew you saw my thoughts as we could still read each other’s mind. I saw that same grief pass your face then that smirk would appear, it’s ok Mom, I’m the one who screwed up. I miss her too.
I was spending equal time between our house and Lisa’s, knowing that I had to try for you. Still watching the two of you from afar and still no warm and fuzzies for me. But you know me Matt, whatever made you happy made me happy so I continued to play the part of the mom you needed me to be, you know the one who supported you in all things, even those I didn’t agree with. I was allowing myself to foolishly forget that you were an addict. Always checking for the obvious signs, the dead give away that your demons found you again. I remember thinking that this was too good to be true. I’d educated myself enough to know addiction just didn’t go away like the common cold, but this new found peace was just what my weary soul craved. Maybe, just maybe we were the one in a million, you know the people you read about that just get straight and stay there. Please God, let that be us. Finally just a mom and her son enjoying life by the sea as it should be.
I would leave you and pray that our good fortune would continue. Me going back to the rat race of my life and you staying by the sea. I would tell Ray about you now with a little more confidence. How you were living my dream. Living by the sea, doing what you loved, relaxing in the sun, no worries about your future. You lived for today, and as much as that would drive me crazy I had to admire you. I was the type A, I worried about the bills, the house, the job. You worried about nothing. I never realized just how smart you were, worrying is such a waste of time. Looking back, I wonder if you knew your demons would win and take you away.
Finally the day came. I felt secure enough with the way things seemed to be going to bring Ray with me to meet you. Ray, like us loved the beach. We came during the week, knowing you were at work gave me a sense that this meeting would go well. Praying that even you knew how much you would risk showing up for work using. I wasn’t quite convinced that we were out of the woods, so weekend visits were reserved only for me. Ray and I spent the day on the beach. Soaking up the sun and playing in the sea. I really loved this man and needed this meeting to go well. Any man sharing my life needed to know I was a mom first and my kids were a priority, especially you, Matt. We had a relationship, an unbreakable bond thanks to your demons and the dirty little secret we shared.
We met after your work day ended. I was relaxed after a day in the son. I kept trying not to let the fear creep into my mind. I needed you to do this for me. Just once, I needed something from you and I hoped you would somehow sense how much this meant to me.
Please Matt, be the guy I loved. The guy who was friendly, let your smile and humor shine through. Leave the demons in their place and be my Matt.
We were in Ray’s car waiting for you. I remember thinking this was a good thing. You would not recognize this car. I would have time to do my checks without you even being aware. Your black pickup pulled into the parking lot. OK, now my heart starts to race. Oh God, this is it. Please just once give me a break. You step out, my eyes follow you. Gait steady. check. you walk to the deck of the restaurant. Your face looks great. Tan and carrying a smile. You light up a smoke, I think dam, still have that nasty habit, then a slap hits my brain. Hey, if that’s the worst, no sweat.
Ray and I get out of his car. Me, still focused on you. You see us coming, smile and start coming toward us. My eyes catch yours, those beautiful eyes are clear! Looking good. Speech clear. Thank you God. You wrap me in your hug. My body relaxes. I got this Mom. Matt this is Ray, Ray this is Matt.
Oh Matt, I was the happiest I’ve ever been. We are together and you are really here. Smiling and engaging in conversation. You are present. My God, is this what it feels like to be normal. To anyone observing us, we look like the perfect family. Parents and their son having dinner. No demons present tonight to rob you of who you are. No catching you as you slump over in your seat then laugh cause you think your behavior is just so dam funny. Oh Matt, what a gift you have given my heart tonight. My beautiful son as he should be. Oh God, please keep us in this safe place. We deserve this normal. No demons sucking the life out of our happiness, normal is something we didn’t have a lot of and I prayed it would hang on to us and never let us go. Little did I know the demons were hovering, laughing and letting me have my moment of sweet joy.