You have been my saviour so many times. You were there, holding on to my hand, my leg, my hair, anything you needed to do so that I wouldn’t slip away. Sometimes all you had to do was whisper in my ear, and sometimes you didn’t have to do anything because I wasn’t slipping away at all. At those times, you could relax and watch, vigilantly perhaps, but still, you didn’t have to work so hard.
But all those times when I lost interest, or went away, and really did threaten to slip away, you caught me gently, by the elbow, or an arm around the waist, and pulled me towards yourself, towards safety, and you never complained, or berated me or scolded me. I took you for granted most of the time, in fact, I didn’t even notice you, as you were doing what you have always done. Why is it that you do all this for me? Did someone commission you to do this? Is there an expiry date, when you won’t be doing this for me anymore? Is there a point when the job is over, and maybe we switch sides, and then I will be the one whose job it is to keep you in line, on the safe side, in the arms of love and sanity?
It’s not really even necessary for me to thank you. You wouldn’t really make much of it, and it wouldn’t change anything, because I would continue to drift away sometimes, and you would simply walk over and bring me back. So the thank yous would be frivolous, as both you and I would know that while thanking you, I would most likely start to lose my focus again within minutes, and we would be back to square one, with you as protector, and me as protectee.
Do you remember that one time when I was a lot younger, and hardly knew you were there? I ran across the playground, and forgot that there was a real road with real cars that runs through the park. I didn’t at all look left or right or anywhere really except to the object of my desire, which was simply a splash pool on the other side. I wanted to go and play in the water, splash and run through the water, and then perhaps sit in it and drink it from the cup that my two hands would make. You weren’t my parents, you weren’t my friend, you were just my protector. You made sure I tripped and fell flat on my face long before I reached the road. I felt your hand push me, and then you were not really there anymore. I mean you probably were, but I didn’t notice you, and all I knew was that my hands hurt from bracing the fall, but it wasn’t too bad, as it was on grass and I did notice the speed and whooosh of the big black car go by within a few feet of my face and hands.
Why are you taking care of me so consistently? It’s been years now, it’s been my whole life. I think I accept that you are there. I think you are part of me, so I cannot really see you as the other who took care of me. I can’t question you without questioning myself. It’s as if I were to ask myself… why are you taking care of yourself?
It’s just more comforting knowing that you are there, and that I don’t have to ask why you are doing it or when did you start, or who set you up for it. I just accept that you are there for me, and that perhaps you are me, and that it’s really not that important.
What does feel good though is that I am safe, all the time. Even when I do fall and hurt myself, I know you’ll help me to get up, get going again. I like that about you. I see you now, just behind me, waiting patiently, lovingly, without any complaints. I don’t even need to feed you or clothe you or tip you. You don’t ask me to do better or be careful. You just think whatever I do is fine. How’s that even possible? There’s no pressure on me at all.
I suppose you’ll always be there. I just have to look down towards the ground and I will feel you just a few feet behind me. If one day you’re not there, I won’t be there either.