Sunday 25 Sep 2016

You Were There
AJ Robinson

Normally, I try to write stories that have some link to a time of year or maybe a special event. Occasionally, my muse comes along and guides me toward a particular subject. Such is the case here. I would have preferred to save this until November, but these words clamor for a written page.

You were there when my heart started beating, and the first sound I heard was yours beating in answer to mine. You were there when I drew my first breath. While not the first to hold me, your arms were the first to cradle and comfort me. You came in the night in answer to my cries. You fed and clothed me.

When I uttered my first words and took my first steps, you were there. When I went off to my first school, you who took me, kissed me, waved to me and assured me everything would be okay. When I would come home troubled or excited about the events of the day, you listened. As I grew and got too big for my things, you were there to buy me bigger and bigger and bigger clothes and shoes.

As the years rolled along, you were always there to make my birthdays special. Always my favourite cake, baked at home. You were there when I caught the brass ring at the Flying Horses, and when I won a ribbon at the All-Island Art Festival. When I was sick, you were there to comfort and care for me. It was your “title” I cried out, when I fell and broke my arm. You took me to the hospital, and then cared for me through the night.

Then came a time when you couldn’t be there. You were in the hospital yourself, and I went to a different one with a hot appendix. Lying there, waiting to go to the operating room, I thought of you, and, in a way, you were there for me again, and I felt better.

You were there when I learned to drive, and when I walked down the aisle to graduate. When I went off to college, you were there to help me settle into my dorm. As you drove off, I truly felt on my own, for the first time. I wasn’t worried. I still felt you there at my side. You were there when I was hurt, my head throbbing with pain and my body wasted away. Like any good Italian mother, you encouraged me to eat. When I felt better and was able to transfer to Georgia Tech, you were there at the airport to bid me a fond farewell. Although, I will admit, you didn’t notice I’d trimmed my beard.

You were there when I again journeyed down the graduation aisle, and there once more when that aisle led to marriage. When my child drew her first breath, I was there, and then you travelled to our home to meet your latest granddaughter. As you were there for me, so you have been there for her, and so have I. In the years to come, I hope that I will always be there for her.

You taught me well, simply because you were there.

Combining the gimlet-eye, of Philip Roth, with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Most of the time he writes, but sometimes he works at Disney World to renew his fantasies and get a few dollars more. AJ writes, with insight and passion, about his family and his dog. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true.

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