Will in Ash’s Room

boys 6th birthday

It’s my son’s birthday. Ash is 6 years old today.  I’m his dad…I should be downstairs watching him open presents, but I’m stuck. Blind anger slithers around in my heart like a snake…devouring me a bite at a time. And I can’t seem to forgive him…even though he did nothing wrong.

Today is the day he becomes the older brother. His sister was always the older one…but now it’s him. Sitting here on his bed, I’m surrounded by his stuff: His toy cars, the Legos scattered all over the floor, even his wrinkled Star Wars sheets…all such boy things. I wonder how his sister’s room would look now. I’m guessing princesses…and a lot of pink. Maybe it’s good I missed that stage. I don’t know how I would deal with tea parties and conversations with stuffed animals. All that girlie shit gives me the creeps.

I don’t know…Maybe it gives me the creeps because she’s not here to teach me how to — enjoy it with her. That’s probably it. I miss her. So much so that I wish I could erase her from my memory altogether. That old saying, “it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all” is total bullshit. Losing hurts like hell.  I hate that I can still smell her on her pillow…the one she used to sleep on. The one I can’t let Sarah pack away. That faint smell of strawberries and sweat. It’s addictive.

I was at a Board Meeting giving a presentation of all things, when I got the call. Sarah told me that Ruby had been in an accident…that she was gone. The worst part of that moment was the shame I felt for hiding my reaction. I stayed calm. I actually said, “Could you hold please?” And I held one finger up to the table, signaling that I’d be back in a minute.

Then I walked quietly…all the way to my car, refusing to put the phone up to my ear until I was locked inside…and only then did I let myself go. I cried like a little girl. I cried like Ruby did that time she got thrown from the horse. I broke apart.

Now Ruby is stuck at five years old. And today…Ash is six.

From now until forever, he’s going to be her big brother…and I really hate him for it.

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