Below is the piece I wrote and read for North Jersey’s inaugural production of Listen to Your Mother.
I am so very proud to have been a part of this remarkable group of writers, artists, moms, people. Click here to see the other pieces that were read/shared in the show. It was truly a remarkable piece of theater. If you get a chance to see a production of Listen to Your Mother next Mother’s Day, go! It is an incredible experience.
I Love You Anyway
I love you anyway.
That was my mother’s reaction when I came out of the closet. I was 13, maybe 14.
It was the best she had at the time. It would be years before she would begin to understand how those words were almost perfect. Nearly. But perfect was the victim of too much. Too many. She overshot perfect by one word.
I didn’t hear it at the time. My journey would be long too. Going back to the groundbreaking and walking from there. Rebuilding with each step.
All I heard was love. My ears edited what her tongue couldn’t. And that was enough. More than enough. In that way we were perfectly matched, like pieces of a puzzle. A harmony. Both unaware that we were in a minor key. I was trapped in a tidal wave praying for the life preserver of ok. But I got love. More than I had imagined. Hoped for. Oh, yes. So much demolishing and rebuilding to do. Years of rewiring.
And so there we were. Doing our best. Our very, very best at the time. But something inside us both knew that our very, very best simply wasn’t good enough. There must be some future best. Something to aspire to. Strive for. To achieve. We knew without knowing that we could do better than anyway.
We began the slow, painstaking process of dismantling. Piece by piece. Question by question. Word by word. And then simpler still. Until we were left with nothing. Edited edited down down down until there was nothing. Nothing but the nauseating hangover feeling of having ingested without question so many pieces of cobbled fiction. Together and separately we embarked on a journey towards nothing. Emptied our pockets, our coats of so much debris. Until the epiphany that different is a brainwash. Doesn’t exist. And we walked. Lighter and lighter. Together. Separately. We walked.
I love you anyway. An imperfect moment that stands as a lighthouse illuminating the rocks of who we were and what we knew. She wishes she could eat anyway. Choke it back. Unvibrate the air. Stop her lips from shaping and her breath from sending. Just stop. And be simple then as she is now. But I love anyway. Because it speaks of the journey she took for me. Then, and now. She is different. For me.
I could never trade anyway.