A Tear Trickles
A ray of light piercing the windshield settles on his cheek bathing him in a golden glow. I marvel at how much I love him. The pain, spontaneous and instantaneous, like a knife stuck deep in my heart gripped by the cruel fingers of fate twisting and turning relentlessly, pitches me forward toward white-knuckled fists clinching a death-grip around the wheel. As painful as it is, I know that the magnitude of pain I feel cannot even begin to compare to that which is revealed by the ethereal splash of golden light softly caressing his beautiful face.
In this moment it matters not that my love for him rivals the deepest fathoms of the Atlantic Ocean. It isn’t my love that he longs for with every fiber of his being. I know this, and yet I also know that unlike the love he so longs for, the love I hold for him is constant and eternal. I will never forsake him. I will remain true until my dying breath, unconditionally. Such is a mother’s love, or it should be. It certainly is for me.
A young man’s first true love is a powerful and wondrous thing. I have watched it and marveled from the moment the tiny seed first took root to the moment it’s multicolored and multilayered petals stretched and opened wide, basking gloriously in the life-giving light of love. Now I bear witness as the darkness brought on by the clouds of sorrow and betrayal loom overhead. I watch helplessly as those magnificent petals begin to shrivel and die as the life-sustaining light fades to black. The love is gone. Not his love for her, for it remains constant and unfailing. No, it’s her love for him that has been wrenched so cruelly away. However, unlike him, I know, and have known from the start, that it was never really truly there at all. As lovely as it has been to witness his metamorphosis, I have dreaded this moment and knew it would arrive sooner or later.
A mother knows. I have watched and seen all. From the start I have seen the little signs that indicate that love is only one-sided. I have heard the irritation in the voice, watched the pulling away when hugs are given, noticed the eye rolls, heard the little insults. I see and I know. I like the girl. I always have. I admire her strength, her intelligence, her driving ambition. Yet, I understand that my son was just a passing moment for her. He was simply the one who was convenient. There was attraction there, I realize that. Attraction, however, isn’t love. He was simply the one who would do just fine for all the important events of high school.
I understand all this, but there’s someone very important to me who doesn’t. He doesn’t know what I know, and he cannot see what a mother’s eyes can see. I observe the little flashes of hope that spring forth in his eyes as he tells me she still wants to be friends. I ask him if he truly just wants to be only her friend. He drops his head and says, No. My heart breaks as the light of hope extinguishes from his hazel eyes. Thus is the source of my pain. The pain that is deep, yet still paltry compared to his own.
Suddenly a shadow blankets the windshield. A cloud so rudely interrupts the moment. Uninvited and unwelcome, yet appropriate, I think to myself, as the illuminating golden glow and warmth dissipates from the face of the treasured one beside me.
A tear trickles silently down my cheek.