Hide and Go Seek, a child’s game. Hide while I count. Skip count by fives til you get to 200.
Five, ten, fifteen, twenty…ninety-five, 100! Repeat Five, ten, fifteen, twenty…ninety-five, 200! Ready or not, here I come.
But no one comes. You have followed the rules. You have hidden yourself. You have tried to make yourself invisible and hide your pain. Hide your disfunction. Hide your sadness. Hide your essence. You have no place in this world. Always unwanted. Always marginalized.
Be good. Be quiet. Child seen but never heard. Always hiding. You learned it well.
You always thought someone would come. Someone would come and listen to your pain. Someone would come to affirm that you are ok. In fact, you are amazing. There is no one like you. Yet, you wait, hidden long after the counting is done. No one comes.
Mother May I? Another game. Mother, may I take three giant steps. Yes, you may take three giant steps. One, Two, Three. Your brother’s turn, Mother, may I take two giant steps. Yes, you may take two giant steps. One, Two. Your oldest brother steps forward. Mother, may I take ten giant steps. Yes, you may take ten giant steps. ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR, FIVE, SIX, SEVEN, EIGHT, NINE, TEN!
You never catch up – the sun has risen on the first born like in some ancient story of patriarchy. Always in the shadows, and never catching rays of sun. You and your brother, always in the shadows of the first born. Mother, may I take three giant steps. NO, you may not take three giant steps. You may go back to start. You will never finish.
A third sidewalk game is played. STATUES. The one who was mother in Mother May I, spins you around. You are disoriented. You are dizzy. Life is a series of whiplash experiences. You don’t understand. What is up, what is down, what is right, what is wrong? She stops and you turn into a statue. Only no one comes to release you. You stand still a shell of yourself. No emotion. No delight. No crying out. Just stand there, be a good girl. Do the right things. You are frozen.