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Mike Aragona - Freelance Writer / Editor

The Last Word

The Art of Falling Apart — (April 1999) A House of Cards. Have you ever tried to build one? Sometimes the hardest part is getting those first two cards to hold still. Other times, you can get as high as four levels with no difficulty. But, the main problem with a House of Cards is how easy it is to shatter.

That's my emotional state these days. As fragile as an egg. As weak as a twig. I build my "House" every single day. I keep myself busy moment by moment, hour by hour, day by day. And sometimes, when I get to that Fourth Level, I think to myself, "Hey. I'm feeling good!". And then, just like 5 minutes ago (6:25pm Tuesday April 27, 1999), I'll find myself in the presence of a child. I'll look at this unknown little creature and he'll stare back at me with very familiar eyes. All children have those eyes. They'll look at me and I'll feel the wind threatening my cards. So I try to look away. And I'll notice their little pudgy hands or their cute little shoes and... BAM! The cards tumble. It literally feels as though my ribs are falling off one at a time. And, after a long drop, they hit the pit of my stomache with a resounding thud.

Depending on the severity of the drop, I have to wipe my eyes or rush off to a private spot (like my car) and let the tears wash away my pain. Sometimes, like right now, I'm stuck in public. I'm sitting in the theatre, waiting for Life Is Beautiful to start, and I had to take off my glasses because the tears were falling on them and I don't have enough kleenexes. Luckily, most people in theatres tend to keep to themselves, so no one bothers me as I'm writing this, tears plopping onto my paper.

So, I sit and mourn. Mourn the fact that I don't live with my kids. Mourn the fact that I can't tuck them in at night. Mourn the fact that I can't make them breakfast in the mornings. Mourn the fact that I can't be there to comfort them when they get nightmares.

And I wait.

Wait for the day this mourning period ends and I can concentrate on the happy things. Happy because my kids know me. Happy because they look forward to being with me. Happy because they love me. Happy because they *will* be spending weekends with me and I'll be able to tuck them in and make them breakfast. Happy because I love them so much it hurts. Happy because I would give my life for them.

But, before the acceptance (of the life I must lead), I have to go through the mourning (of the life which has ended).

And so, I pick the cards up off the floor, wipe the tears, blow my nose, and begin again. Level One... Level Two... Level Three...

(The Last Word (c) Mike Aragona. All rights reserved. No reproduction or retransmission of this article is granted without written permission of Mike Aragona)

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