the gyspy string in my puppet

What about, if I close my eyes and remember when I dreamed about babies and having your name, when I hadn’t even met you yet. When you hadn’t yet came.

I was climbing fences, in a stockyard country town.

You were skating past a city funeral home, whilst my father was being lowered down.

And it was 1984.

There was not so much I was sure of then, but I dared to believe and dream and make wishes like any another ordinary girl from some other ordinary place and it took me too long to understand what real and beautiful love feels like. How it tastes.

I pictured you there. Sitting beside me, on an unforgiving church pew and our imaginary children sat at our feet with imaginary toys. Our daughter, with your nose, twirled her dolls hair and straightened its dress. Our son, nimble and hard to ignore, traced his metal toy-box car across the kneeling plank.

I considered that we might visit an ice cream shop after mass and I would smile loyally as you shifted your weight from hip to hip whilst our children pressed their anxious faces into the freezer glass paneling.

And it was that simple.

I never knew who God was, but my father expected me to talk to him each night, on bended knees and with cute little hands joined together – the way wishing people do it.

I did it.

I prayed to God and I asked him to protect everyone in my family and yes, I said each name and every uncle and every cousin and grandma and pop and my two goldfish and of course, me too.

I was always so afraid that I’d forget someone and God wouldn’t know about them and it’d be my fault when they’d get hurt. And die.

There was a six month stretch of time, when I was thirteen years old and everything was awkward enough without the added dimension of talking to some man in the sky.

He’s up there.

Anyway, after my father fell apart and then later died in an unrelated incident involving a truck and his car, I sort of just gave up on that dude in the sky and I depended on myself more and I emptied my head onto pieces of paper and that’s when life started to change again.

I didn’t give up on marriage though. Despite my parents giving up on their own, and it took me until I was a big girl, to understand that sometimes, there really is no other choice but to walk away. Or run.

I won’t explain to you now about the line of destructive relationships that I committed to throughout my younger life, but I will say that in hindsight, I know those relationships were just what I needed. They made me stronger. And I’m no Christina Aguilera song. But she and I have some things in common.

Over the years, I found my own spirit and my own guides and although we’re a noisy and complicated bunch, we haven’t done too badly.

I’m still here.

And I found my husband. We’re both open-minded people who once went to church as children, but don’t anymore and we have our own beliefs about spirituality and energy and the universe, AND we didn’t christen our own children but we make wishes in our own way.

My life didn’t turn out the way I thought it would. Though, there has certainly been experiences that have been similar to the games I played when I was a little girl. I’ve nurtured and loved and lost and cried and forgotten someone and I’ve scolded my children in a similar way to the dramatic actions I played out in a childhood game called ‘mummy’s-and-daddy’s’. I’ve also made real, the ‘doctors-and-nurses’ game (but it was way different) and I know that the ‘girls-dancing- on-table-tops-at-a-party’ game definitely came to fruition though I’m pleased to say, I never got paid for it. Well, perhaps I did. There were some great nights in my 20’s and 30’s.

I am blessed for the wild way of my life. With all of its tragedies and small triumphs. But, our course, there are wishes yet to be attained.

I am a dreamer.

And I know where those dreams are.

I’m realistic about the things I desire – no matter how outrageous.

If I can imagine it – I know it’s possible for me, on some scale.

Today, I’m blessed with a large family, I’ve experienced the incredible gift of four healthy children and not one labour pain (women often ask me if I feel a bit sad because I had four c-sections and never gave birth naturally and you guessed it, the answer is not one bit) and life is such a wild and brilliant trip. I’m measured with my madness, my ghosts and my aspirations. I’m trotting along like a good little pig.

And there’s that feeling I keep getting and I know it’s real.

Life is going to change again soon, because that’s how it is for me.

Me and my many different paths.

I arrived in this world almost ten pounds and thriving.

I flew out of the back window of the car that my father was driving and had crashed and I landed on the road with a thud in 1971 and I bounced.

Because that’s what I do.

Nothing keeps me down for long and although I’m not afraid of a sadness or depth so deep it could drown you or a flipside so wild it could jolt you, I’m resilient.

And I’m a believer.

Despite the many times I’ve thought about leaving and giving up like the lost, I obviously haven’t.

I’m thankful to me for that.

And I’m so hungry for the feast of life.

I pray now, but it’s not to a guy in the sky though I do talk to my dad but he’s anywhere, at any time. Like everyone else who passes over. And I do talk, to what I believe is a massive universal energy, connected to ourselves. And it works. Most times.

I have plans.

It has plans.

Together, we’re working on it.

This life is beautiful, with all of its darkness and light.

The best way to make it from the start to finish, is to find the right love for you, whoever or whatever that may be and also, to find the right God for you too.

I have several.

And I am one of them.

© ryan

the gyspy string in my puppet

PJ Ryan

Melbourne, Australia

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Thank you to Short Stories for featuring this piece :) x

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