Rain falls on the patio of this hotel room and the gas fire attempts to warm the soul and fool me into thinking that I can pull up a chair and fall into its promise. Papers fall to the floor like leaves in fall and I clad myself in a white robe that feels rough against my skin. It chafes and irritates the folds. Son watches a basketball game and out of the corner of my eye I cannot help but think that he looks far older and wiser than the woman who churns away at the laptop on the other bed. Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I doubt and wonder if this is the right thing. If it will be okay to depart from this hotel room on Sunday morning and leave him here in the midst of a new world. Is this the final cut of the umbilical cord, the one that wound its way around our necks for so long? He seems anxious to go. To depart what the past has dealt him, the bad timing, the culture of Ireland, the being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
And yet, I resist. I battle with the cut. I try with all my wits to make it impossible despite the fact that I know all will be well. It has to be. There is too much at stake. There is a life. My life is half lived. I take small mercy from sunlight on trees and bog walks and a dogs loyalty and a baked potato and a tossed salad and waking up. But youth. Youth has to leave me. I cannot hold it any longer. It tugs away from me like a bolting horse. l inhale and exhale. I dream of days gone by. A Summer beach rides into my vision, three young boys with buckets and spades and me all of the proud mother as I observed the frantic running down and back to the shore. Wary of the incoming tide, I called out to them to come back. This son will not come back to me now, he will ride out into the surf and toss about and become submerged and rise up and down like a glistening piece of kelp that promises something more.
I cry. I cry for nothing more than myself. Selfish? Maybe. But this is what I learn now. I learn that my mothering produced something more than I expected. I see intuition and strength and a will. I see more than I ever possessed. I see a new life blossoming out into something that may dazzle or blend but whatever it is, I will have to leave it to thrive all on its own. I think about my flight. The lonely ride back to the airport and the memories that will haunt the passage and I wonder if he will lock the door, be warm, be wary of strangers, hold his head up even when times can appear low and if he will remember our trips out to the coast, the sun glinting on the water, our hands cast to brow, the salt of the sea on our lips, the promise of crackers and cheese mixed with sand, wet towels and nights that never grew into darkness. m