“We live with truth as a permanent blur in the corner of our eyes. When it is finally nudged into outline, it is like being ambushed by a grotesque.” Tom Stoppard – Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.
I find this line to be incredibly profound. But because Tim Roth talks so fast and it is buried in a sea of other, rapid dialogue, it’s easy to miss. I don’t know how many times I watched this movie before I caught it. Now that I have though, I can never unhear it. And every now and then, exactly how true it is smacks me in the face.
Yesterday was one of those days. I don’t check my mail every day. I get mostly ads and credit card offers, rarely anything personal unless it’s a holiday. But I was actually running early for work for once and decided to take a look. There was a note from my mother. The envelope was small and thin, and I walked to my car wondering what she could have sent me and why.
Inside was a short, handwritten note. “I love you…I did my best…I’m sorry it hasn’t worked out…Sincerely…”
I drove to get coffee thinking, did my mother just break up with me? I wanted to be angry and then I thought, why? Haven’t I known this was true for years? How long have I been saying that we are simply incompatible? And yet, seeing the words, from her, made it true in a way that I hadn’t wanted to face before. We’d been going through a good period, talking occasionally about silly stuff, even getting together occasionally. I thought maybe we could build on that in time.
And now this. It feels so final, as if a door has not only been closed, but locked and barricaded. I don’t know what to do with this. I don’t know how I’m supposed to react or what the implications really are. I’m sure she thinks it will have no effect, that I don’t care. But I do. I do hate that things have gotten to this point. The truth is that we are two very different people, no matter how much I sometimes see her in the mirror. But damn if that wasn’t just a little too much truth for 7 a.m. and no caffeine.
I cried off and on at work, both at her words and those received from dear friends. I am blessed in so many diverse ways with a support system I once only dreamed of. I’m very sorry my mother isn’t part of it.
For much of the day I also wondered how I could possibly respond. I’m planning on seeing her tomorrow – she’s having a very routine procedure so I will visit her in the hospital. The script in my head, the made-for-tv-movie if you will, has me going in and making small talk. Right before I leave, I want to bring up the note, say “I’m sorry too” and walk away. Maybe I’ll be walking away for good. Maybe not. I don’t know. But it’s the only thing that sounds appropriate right now.