No more pain


I work twenty four hour shifts at my care job. I sleep for a good portion of that but never completely switch off. When you finish an eight hour shift you need a couple of hours to transition into home mode, so when you work for a day it takes three times longer. When I finished my last shift I knew that if I went straight home I would eat carbs, nap and lose a sunny day; so I headed to my local park. It's this tiny little patch tucked away between houses, you'll miss it if you don't know it's there. It's never busy, even on the warmest days. 

I sat in the park and and read my book, Jen Beagin's 'Pretend I'm Dead'. It's astonishing and I had to keep taking little breaks to let it settle. During one of my rest periods I noticed a man watching his son doing laps of a small concrete track on his bike. Each time the boy passed him he would call out a time and an acknowledgement when that time was quicker than the last. The boy peddled more  and more furiously and on the last turn of what would be his personal best, he skidded. There was a thump and then that terrible silence before a child cries and man did he cry. His father leapt to his feet, as any good parent would.

'You're OK. You're not hurt. Lucas stop crying. It's OK,' he said as he ran towards him. The man examined the wailing child. 'It's just a graze. You're OK. Stand up.' Or don't feel what you feel or at least don't express it. I'm sure the man was right, it didn't look that bad. As the boy continued to sob his father showed him how to lean into curves. The boy nodded and sniffed and nodded. He would lean to be better, to be faster, to not let emotions get in the way. Achievements get attention, pain does not.

I know why, when Lucas is fifteen, he won't try out for the school play, afraid he won't get a part.

I know why, when Lucas is twenty-five, he'll say he's fine when the love of his life leaves him. And she'll believe it. 

I know why, when Lucas is thirty-five, he'll tell his kid to stop crying and their hurt. 

And I know why I'm the same. I say, 'You're OK.' When I mean - you're embarrassing me, you're making me feel guilty, I'm too tired. And each time I do I show him that his feelings aren't important, maybe because I believe that mine aren't either. 

I never want my son to feel hurt but I know that's an impossible goal, so next time I witness it I'll say, 'I know it's not OK. I can see you're hurting and I'm hurting too.'

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