just walking around projecting my mental state unto the world around me

by Amy Turn Sharp


When Finnian was about a year old he had a terrible fever and was quite ill over the course of a weekend. Joe's dad was in town from England and the second night Finn was ill he held the baby on the couch and placed his hands on Finn's head and became very serious in his attention.
Dad was healing him. He was trying to heal him with his magic.
Magic is the best way I can describe it.
Dad was a spiritualist and his views on life rooted from that place.
My grandfather is a Baptist minister and his views root from there.
My grandfather would lay his hands on me too if I asked him to.
He would pray hard for me.

It is all magic. It is all magical thinking. It is all reasoning.

Magical thinking is all around me right now. I place my hands on books and telephones and wood and tables and press harder than I should to try and make things feel real.
But they don't.
I try and chant inside of my head letters strung together that form words and then sentences that beg the people that I love to find peace. I say these little words over and over in my mind and even as I am saying them I wonder if it will ever work.
Because grief is not a simple action.
It begins and assaults at random and does it ever have an end?
Or does it just hide away?
It is like a heavy velvet curtain at a theatre.
It just falls at random from the sky and blankets you.
It makes it difficult to move and the fabric traps yr feet.
It pools in piles at yr feet and you cannot move until it lets you.

I find myself trying very hard to think things fine. I reason with myself that in some arbitrary number of days that everyone will feel better and life will resume again in formation.
I make little deals with the universe that I will be a better wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend if everyone can just find that peace.
But it's only magical thinking. I pray in the quiet to a God who I am told by my grandfather knows the number of hairs on my head.
I say tiny words to God, but I am lost out there in the dark.
I am not sure I am heard.
I am not sure I am worthy or my magical thinking matters.

But the day after dad placed his hands on Finnian
the morning after he was so loving and focused and true
the very next day
my small boy uncurled in the bed
and stretched and smiled
and cooed
and snuggled to my chest and his forehead
was as cool
as a early morning breeze

and I can't help but irrationally wish for dad to be here now
to place his hands on his children's heads
to take away the sadness
the way they all feel
dealing with the subtraction of him from their lives

And nothing makes sense but I say the small words over and over again
inside of my magical mind