An Issue No More
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The third slab of the cobblestone entrance leading to the park is where Frankie now stood. The garden to his first stage of growth, where he had developed memory both good and bad. Nature’s cradle, where he got to know his five senses, where he had learned to crawl, walk, run. And run he did, daring to go farther with every journey. When he stopped there would be nothing around but wide open green space. It was during these moments when panic would set in, believing he had reached the ends of the earth and had lost mama forever.
But as sure as the tears would build up in his eyes she would appear out of nowhere and swoop down to pick up little Frankie, making everything wrong right again as they would magically be back in the security of their soft blanket, mama teaching him how to make a pair of scissors with two blades of grass.
Her assurance that nothing would ever cut them apart was all a little boy needed to feel safe in this world, which is why one fall afternoon when tears had built up in her eyes it had felt as though they had not only reached the end of the world, but was falling off it. He had reached the age of six, young enough to have no control over the situation, old enough to know that this was the most painful experience his heart had ever felt in his young life as they both stood on that third cobblestone step having to say goodbye. He still didn’t understand why. Why she had to leave him. Why she was letting those two strangers over on the first cobblestone step take him away. Why she didn’t want him anymore.
This last question turned her falling tears into a waterfall of salty drops, heavy and big they were, mixing with his own until she could no longer handle the sight of breaking his heart. One last kiss on the forehead and she was off in a flash, young Frankie left alone with the two strangers looming nearby to take him away. He watched until he could no longer see his mother’s back, then looked over at the fields of green they had spent so much time in, knowing now that they would be no more swooping down and magically reappearing in the comforts of their soft blanket.
Frankie looked down to the cobblestone step beneath his shoes, counting from the corner of his eye the one the strangers were standing on to the one he and his mother had shared. The third step. The last three words she had said to him; I love you.
Once a month Frankie would find himself back where his heart had been broken, where he would insist on waiting on that third step until his mother would arrive for their one hour visits, laughing and playing in the park as if the rest had only been a bad dream, but then forced to wake and re-break the heart over and over again.
Acceptance eventually held the hand of passing time, Frankie growing accustomed to a new home, a new way of life, and a once-a-month mother. By adolescence it was all he really knew, teenage hormones taking precedence over sixty-minute visits with the woman he didn’t really know anymore. With this came his first love, and the attachment to never want to let go, but most young hearts feel the need to flutter about before settling down, and so Frankie’s was hurt time after time, until one day while standing atop his cobblestone step made a promise to himself that the heartache would end. He would close it off, nail it shut, keep it buried deep within until the gift of having his own child would be bestowed upon him.
And so for years this is what had become of Frankie’s heart, vaulted away as he saved for his mission, burying along with it the term the experts liked to call abandonment issues. Until finally the day had come when the numbers in his bank account were plenty enough to proceed with his plan of finding a woman to bear him a child. Not a lover a friend or even an acquaintance, for this would require the heart to feel. What he sought out was a surrogate, a womb for hire. An emotionless, no-strings-attached business transaction that in the end would give him back the gift of love and security.
Nine months after finding such an opportunity Frankie held in his arms a little version of himself, those beautiful wide eyes looking up at his own as he embraced them with his own, promising to never let go until his last breath of life. Promising to dedicate his life to the special bond they shared, the assurance that the natural desire of a child of any age never wants to truly sever their relationship with their parent enough to finally let go of the fear of ever losing his heart again. His heart now being his baby, and therefore his love, his everything.
From this third cobblestone step Frankie had now found completion.