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Do you ever feel like you used to be? by Jennifer Lauren Reimer

A note - Blogging isn't free. Right now I provide gifts to my writers as a way of thanking people for writing. I would like to be able to afford to give them some sort of renumeration, even if it is small, for making this blog what it is. I'm in talks with a friend who may be able to help connect this blog, which has been in existence for one year now, with more religious communities dedicated to interfaith dialogue. Your donation will do a lot toward making that happen.

This poem was in Jen's notebook for a while. I didn't really get started on publishing her stuff until now, probably because I couldn't deal with it. I hope her fans like it. I am also collecting material of hers in to a book - I will likely apply this to it as well. Love you all.

Do you ever feel like you used to be?

2013. The year that I finally had the courage to leave. The year that I finally said goodbye, even though I was the only one that knew, subconsciously that morning at 4:45 AM. My father wore the plush housecoat that his new wife gave him for Christmas some years back, just another day on the calendar of my life marked "absent" - I was packing up the contents of another apartment alone, or doing laundry in another basement, or lying on another bed being the subject of another man's pleasure.

However, I learned long ago from Charles Dickens that stories are told not according to fact but according to memory, so the last time he hugged me tightly for a few moments, the last time that the man that played daddy for periods of my childhood, teaching me that love is not reliable, but is a sunny day that will return again, after the tears and the screaming inside and the cracks in the days when the screaming sneaks out, demands to be heard, is punished in turn - he embraced the body and kissed the face of the woman with the face of the woman that died 15 years and 3 weeks ago, wearing the light yellow robe with white piping.

The image of the first man in my life, all that he did right, all that he did to make me proud enough to tell my friends, all that he hid from me, all that he did not do, all of the years that he knew nothing about his first daughter's life, all that he di wrong, the things he said that left permanent scars on my invisible heart, and above all else, all that I wanted him to be, and all that he was and that only I saw, for better or worse, for better, better than I am - will always stand waving at me from the atrium of the oversized house, wearing pale yellow, worn thin by time and use and living. And even though I know that his expression denoted hesitance and suspicion, I will always remember a smile big enough to contain to hold my own dreams and sure enough to make them come true.

The darkness of the morning, the rainbow neon light ceiling above the moving sidewalk connecting the international terminal to the domestic terminal at O'Hare, the friendly girl with pecan colored skin and a tiny but sincere smile that I made stories up about in my head as we flew south for 2 hours.

The landing over the ships, a place I would later drive past so many times, the Philadelphia shipyard, a place of receiving things in boxes made of steel, almost as strong as the man that removed their contents, landing over a landscape I had never seen before. Landing where I would decide to stay, over the streets of Philadelphia.

Like so many of the choices that make up the story of my life, the decision to live in the country I wanted to live in as a girl, holding the hand of her mother, not knowing that it would ever evaporate.


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About Radical Second Things

Michael Orion is a blogger, writer, artist and photographer based in the Bay Area. Besides his maintenance and promotion of Radical Second Things, he contributes to the San Francisco newspaper SF Western Edition, where he writes about local non-profit organizations.

Mark Cappetta is a practicing Catholic and active LGBT activist. He has been instrumental in keeping Radical Second Things and updates the Facebook account almost daily.

Eva Gnostiquette is an artist, programmer, "future scientist," bi-trans girl and graphic designer. She voluntarily helped to create the first print issue Radical Second Things and designed our beautiful banners. Thanks so much, Eva!

Jordan Denato is a professional artist based out of Iowa. He took the initiative to illustrate both Jennifer Reimer's story and Michael Orion's Oscar Romero work. He has his own art studio, Tar and Feather Studios, and is a critical part of Radical Second Things.

Radical Second Things is a liberation theology themed blog that has clear cut goals - we see the structural decline of the United States and much of the west and hope to present alternatives that will offer "a preferential option for the poor" as more become vulnerable.

© 2017 Radical Second Things