Mom used to tell him that all the times. Every time something shitty happened to his family, she said that. And the fact that she said it often means shit happened to his family all the times. Oh, and he wondered why that was the case? Perhaps because his single mom was a gambling addict. No no no. According to his mom, it wasn’t that. It was because they were unlucky and life wanted to test the tough ones.
Her idea of lemon/lemonade was when she lost money, she should place even more the next time around. Because life gave you lemon in the form of losing, and in the true blind American optimistic spirit, you might as well betting more to make more lemonade money. It kind of made sense how the gambling addicts were normally quite optimistic. He meant, how else?
He remembered her stealing his hard earned money that he was saving for a summer camp when he was 8. That was strangely one of the days she won, not millions won, but she did win something. And she came home, not returning his money, while making a speech about lemon and lemonade again, about how that was what positive attitude in life would give him. And at that moment, he knew. He would get the fuck out of there as soon as he could.
At 18, he joined the army. It was a poor boy cliché, joining the army. But that was his fastest ticket out and he couldn’t wait to jump on it. He remembered sitting in the back of his neighbor’s truck leaving town thinking about how his mother’s lemon/lemonade days were over.
I thought I would remember his face forever, his smile, his little dimple on the left cheek. I thought I could never forget. I was so certain. He used to be the most important person in my life. I used to love him more than anything in this world. He was my baby son after all. I carried him. I knew him before anyone else even had a chance. I remembered holding him in my arms for the first time. He looked like a wrinkly plum, but so warm. I cried as soon as I held him. I never felt a better kind of joy.
Ben and I took him home, put him in the crib. Ben spent days building, painting the crib, and he was so proud to finally put it to good use. My baby slept in there for the whole 3 years of this life. He didn’t get to die in his beloved crib. But it didn’t matter. Ben burnt it anyway because in the beginning, I used to spend nights sitting next to the crib and cry. It hurt so bad but I didn’t know what to do to ease the pain. All I could do was crying, as if that was going to help with anything. I even put Ben through hell that whole time.
All that and now I started to forget how my baby look like. I used to stay up all night next to his hospital bed to carve his face to my memories and now I forget. I didn’t completely forget how he looked like of course. But I started to forget the little things. I’m not sure about his ears anymore. His forehead is also fuzzy. I’m scared. I shouldn’t forget him. I ran to Ben panicking that I started to forget. That I can’t live with the guilt of forgetting my only son. Ben told me to let go. It’s a sign of the times he said. I shouldn’t have to wake up in the middle of the night because of nightmares anymore. It’s a sign. It’s time.
I cry again. That’s the only damn thing I can do nowadays it seems. But I can’t believe I can live till this day, till the day I’m allow to forget a little. There was a time I was certain that I wouldn’t forget, that this sadness was it for me, that I would die carrying this pain with me for the rest of my life. But I started to forget. And it all started with his ears.