When I was a kid my mom did some babysitting to pull in cash for the family. Michelle came a few days a week with her little brother, Steven. Michelle understood the artist in me. She was a dancer too. She felt my burning intensity to perform and she joined me for meticulously rehearsed dance recitals to an audience of one (Steven) in my tiny bedroom. Blankets on the windows to block the shining sun and an extremely hot metal desk lamp (Fire hazard ) shining its spotlight on my insanely fluid and profound interpretations of Pat Benatar's We Belong.
Michelle and I would perform our asses off for Steven. And there were times when little Steven was so moved by the beauty he was bearing witness to that he shed silent tears. That is how Michelle and I gauged our performance. If Steven was moved to tears we could be certain that we had reached(!) the pinnacle(!) of our abilities as dancers. Michelle and I coveted those tears.
So I was nursing Plum to sleep last night and smiling at this particular memory for it's sheer absurdity. Yeah, that was me. Forever chained to the fantastical. Such drama! I thought about how my kids will experience these intense, if silly, emotions and I will giggle about it with their dad.
But then something reached out of the night and slapped my across the forehead. A 28 year-old light bulb was switched to on. HOLY SHIT! WE HAD KIDNAPPED STEVEN!
He wasn't crying because our artistry had changed his life. He was crying because all of the other kids were outside playing and we had him trapped in my room. No escape. Forced to watch his sister and her friend dance. He wouldn't make a run for it because he was shy. And little. Would we have turned on him had he tried to leave? Would we have used our muscle to over power him? Come to think of it, we positioned our stage in front of the door. He would have had to red rover us to get out. Oh man.
At 37 years old I finally see it clearly. I was an asshole. It blows me away that IT TOOK ME THIS LONG to realize that this poor child was MISERABLE and it was MY FAULT. I can't stop shaking my head at myself. Shaking my damn head.
Somewhere along the way I stopped creating an impromptu piece of poetry in motion every time I hear We Belong.
I rectified that this morning and it was beautiful. Oh I mean, kidnapping is bad. Don't do it.