Dating : If She Couldn’t be Her Old Self, She Didn’t Want to Be

h2>Dating : If She Couldn’t be Her Old Self, She Didn’t Want to Be

Story true, names changed

Marilyn Flower
Photo by Kat J on Unsplash

Petra had had it. With life. With her body. With her brain. That didn’t leave much else.

Well, it left her 27 year old son Michael, who was practically an appendage being developmentally disabled.

But he was high functioning, living in an apartment building especially for folks like him. His step dad looked in on him and folks about town know him as the Mayor of Main Street and keep their eye on him.

He would take it hard. It would be hard to explain that she didn’t do it to hurt him, but because she herself was in so much pain after her stroke. Funny that stroke. She got around, barely, but that wasn’t the problem.

The problem was lability — a fancy name for when you can’t stop crying. She didn’t mean to cry. She didn’t want to cry. But it was impossible not to.

Not only was she depressed to not be her usual fun-filled self, but suddenly everything was hard. Hard to move, to get around, to remember things, to get the house cleaned, dinner made and all of that.

She needed help. Not a lot but more than she could stand to admit.

This sucked. Limping around with a cane sucked. Not being able to talk and sound right sucked. Not being able to drive and having her life drastically curtailed sucked big time.

But worst of all was not being able to sing and dance.

See, for Petra, life was a party. And if it wasn’t, she made it one. Put her on some James Brown, sing I Feel Good at the top of her lungs and dance. Anywhere. Everywhere. At the beach, in the woods, on BART, in the city. Anywhere. Everywhere.

This was the mom that Michael knew. This was the only mom that Michael knew. This was the only kind of mom that he ever wanted to know.

Petra knew this. That’s why her plan made sense. She knew seeing her like this hurt his very soul. She knew he’d sob in friends’ arms and wail, I want my mom back.

Only she wasn’t coming back. She wasn’t moving on either. She was stuck in the limbo of being in between. In the living hell of a walking death. Seemed like her soul had taken leave of her senses and danced on to the next life.

She missed her soul. She missed her nimble feet and strong, wild voice. She did a lot of rehab therapy but she knew she would never be herself ever again.

And she didn’t want to be anybody else. She loathed the melancholy limpy lady she had become. That sad sack in the tear-stained mirror now was her worst enemy.

The real Petra was the one in the photo albums, dancing on top of wind-swept Mt. Diablo, spreading Motown in all directions.

If she couldn’t be Petra she didn’t want to be. Simple as that. Yes, it would hurt Michael but it seeing her like this was killing him, which was not okay.

Better to go somewhere where he didn’t have to see her like this. Better to go somewhere where she could return to who she really was. Better to go where her soul had already gone.

She knew what to do. She knew where to do it. When was a problem. But the day came when Michael was away and the coast was clear. She wished the neighbors wouldn’t have to hear the noise or come find her. But it couldn’t be helped.

Michael has a hard time. He wants his mom back. Not the one with the stroke. The one who turned life into a party just for him. We hold and hug him while he cries. But we’re not Petra. Our singing and dancing just make him cry harder.

He wants her back. We want her back.

There’s no solution.

Just the slow inching of time and the red stains on the back yard grass.

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