Kisses Don’t Raise the Dead (#31writenow, #nablopomo)

by P. Braithwaite

20130821-003247.jpg When I was a kid, I used to play this game. I’d tiptoe into my parents’ bedroom on weekend mornings and find my mother feigning sleep. My father was awake and making breakfast: blueberry muffins on Saturdays (for my brother) or pancakes on Sundays (for me), but mom was always trying to steal her last few minutes of sleep.

“Wake up!”

“I’m sleeping.”

She wasn’t; this was part of our game.

Her voice would have all the accoutrements of sleep, but she was awake. She’d make a show of yawning and turning over on her side.

And so, the game went that I’d go over to her and give her kisses until she finally got out of bed. One kiss would result in an open eye; another kiss might prompt her to remove the sheets. Sometimes I’d give her a kiss and she’d sit up, but then she’d fall back down on her pillow.

“NOOOO,” I’d pounce on her and kiss her again.

On this went until she, fully awake, and I, in a fit of giggles, marched into the kitchen side-by-side.

I learned very early that my kisses can raise the sleeping…and the dead.

I don’t know at what point a person becomes co-dependent. This is something I’ve asked myself more than several times. It’s something I wondered when I purchased Co-Dependent No More, but found myself too angry to actually read it. Am I co-dependent? I’m not co-dependent, f*ck that! It’s something I asked myself as I slunk into my first (and only) Nar-anon meeting in an effort to understand what addiction does to the people who love the folks who take the drugs. It’s something I question even now.

Single. Independent. Alone.

I’ve trained myself to smile, make tea for one, and take up too much space on my own couch when I watch TV. There’s a peace that comes with being responsible for only your own emotions. And right there, in that thought, is the root of all my problems: People’s behaviors and emotions are their own.

People don’t get out of bed just because I kiss them. People don’t get well because I love them extra hard. People don’t stop grieving because I make them macaroni. And no one magically changes because I see the best in them. Folks, generally speaking, do things for two reasons: because they want to and they’re ready to make a different choice.

To think otherwise is a liability and a flaw.