Faces that go elsewhere, while all else stands in place, is how I always recognize the beginning of the journey.
It is the quietest of expeditions and I’ve seen them all go there at various stages of everyday routine life.
It occurs at a moment of silent introspection, almost invisible to the naked eye, but rarely hiding from this writer.
They may be cooking and stirring a pot or they may be observing a child at play or they may be listening to you speak to them – and off they will go in the blink of an eye.
Where they travel is unknown to me for I can never understand their plight, but clearly it is a place where a piece of their past resides, the stillness and security of unencumbered childhood drawing peace across their distant gaze.
It is in these pockets of still time where these women capture their most striking inner beauty and project it outward. The long lasting twinge of regret masked with tentative joy is one that creates a visage where the look is one of utter, stunning brilliance.
But their is a wail of sadness underneath the pretty, a veil of inconsolable grief that never seems to find repose behind the distant eyes and curved, forced smile.
The ballad of ill-timed absence and nostalgic longing plays amid the lights of holidays, the candles of birthdays and the ever-present Mondays that invite routine.
Life goes on in its inevitable swallow of time and these women whose eyes seek refuge in a past that is no more, embrace the brevity of the moment where they go off toward flights of fancy.
It is in these moments where she is there and they revisit those pivotal times where her hand was refuge, her hugs were comfort and her stern words were lessons.
It is in these moments where they remember the first time they saw her as a flawed human and still loved her, where they joined forces in their embrace of womanhood and where they understood each other better because they had this impenetrable bond that started at birth.
The journeys taken by motherless daughters who embrace their current lives wihtout the shadow of a living maternal being to pave their way is mapped across the look of distance and thought and inability that inhabits the lines of their faces.
For Gladys, for Melba, for Maria, for Miriam, for Denise, for Yvonne, for Amaya, for Barbara and for the countless others who have given me a brielf look into your travels of thought, I wanted you to know I write this for you.
I wanted you to know that this time of year doesn’t make it any easier and these journeys will come even more frequently as the tidings of joy bring tears of longing.
I wanted you to know that I know.
But most importantly, I wanted you to know that in that place between this reality and the spiritual realm where mothers wait for their living children, she is there, she watches, she listens…
…and basking in the light of a Christmas from a treasured yesterday, she knows too.