Through My Spectacles: Never Let Me Go


It’s strange how time blends memories together:  a significant person in a memory can suddenly disappear when they were just there a year ago. Eventually everyone gets redispersed and scenes materialize and memories relocate to dark spaces almost impossible to find, all until you can’t detect the inaccuracies.

Although I can’t differentiate between these memories, I have a favorite sequence of recurring memories of me and my parents. It’s early Saturday morning and I’m woken by soft words rising through the vents, like the way the smell of food calls me out of bed. So I follow the words down to my parents’ room and gently open their door to find them whispering over waves of duvet covers separating them. Completely aware that I was never invited to their morning chat session, I take it upon myself to join and joyously crawl into my designated space between them. Nestled under the protection of their sheets I lay there, listening to their comforting voices talk around me. Sometimes I join the conversation and other times I let their whispers coax me back to sleep.

Even as an adult I still find myself pulled to their bed, sadly and much to their disappointment, more often than my own. I would be lying if I said it’s because they have a nice flat screen and a softer bed, whereas my room is tv-less and cold. There’s just something about being there that makes me feel safe, protected—like, as long as I’m settled beneath their duvet sheets I’ll be okay.

Last week I turned 21, and although my birthday left me feeling much the same, a terrifying thought hit me: I’m getting old. But it wasn’t the getting old part that upset me, it was the fact that the older I get the more my relationship with my parents (and the people closest to me) will/has to change. I rely on them for everything: love, companionship, advice, money. The most comforting part of my life has been knowing my parents are right there, metaphorically and literally. If something happens at school I can drive down 690 and be in the comfort of their bed in 20 minutes. If I have a day that has been exceptionally difficult I can call them and they’ll willingly listen to me rant about foolishness. And I know not everything has to change because they’ll always be my parents, but life won’t let us stay the way we’ve always been.

After college I intend to move out and hopefully to the city. Eventually they’ll retire and leave Syracuse. One day I’ll find a significant other (maybe) and he’ll be the person I consult before my parents, especially if we have children…. They won’t be around as much, and that’s what scares me the most. That our phone calls will turn into once every two week events and I won’t be able to see them as often to assess for myself whether they’re actually okay (physically and mentally).

I used to take solace in the fact that I had time before “the shift,” and some may say I still have time…. But I don’t, because 21 will soon turn into 26 and then 34 and then 40, and then where will we be?