As soon as I saw him walking down the aisle I knew there would be a problem. He had that all too familiar pained look on his face, the one he gets right before he starts crying. I found myself bracing for the worst. Quentin has been having a difficult time socially and emotionally. The move was more difficult on him than anyone else. but right now he seems to want to be sad or angry.
"What's up baby? What's going on?" I asked, putting just the right amount of concern in my voice. Enough for him to know I was listening, level enough to indicate that we could handle whatever was going on.
I took note of the split in his jeans right at the knee and the tiny holes where he bit his shirt. I grimaced. His curly mohawk was unruly and frankly - he looked a mess.
"Why are you sad?" I asked settling into my cafetorium chair. It was Noelle's move-up day and Daddy and I had just made it time to get the last two seats. Q looked at me and Daddy with his lips stretched tight across his little face. "Do you remember Lauren?" he asked. My heart fell like a stone and I knew things were going to get bad.
"Do you remember Lauren?" He repeated leaned against my leg.
"No. I don't remember." Daddy replied as he began to pull out his camera equipment. Q gasped, "How could you not remember!?" I leaned into Jon and said," He's talking about Lauren." He paused and I saw a sad look pass over his face. He reached out and massaged Q's shoulder.
"Of course we remember Quentin." I answered as gently and evenly as I could. I was trying to be soft as not to push him over his very abrupt edge. My quietness didn't help. He started and he didn't stop until I was in a puddle of tears myself. I grabbed Jon's thigh and squeezed it tightly forcing myself to remain as silent as possible. Q was looking ahead at the empty stage quietly ranting, working himself into a miserable teary state.
I didn't get to see her. Why did she have to die? I didn't get a chance to meet her. I just wanted to see her one time. I just wanted to see her beautiful face. Just one time.
I just wanted him to stop talking before his words grabbed me by the heart.
It is an invisible fact, but I am the mother of identical twins, one of which did not make it home from the hospital. Her name is Lauren and she is Noelle's twin sister. On some level Q realized that Lauren should have been there - graduating alongside of her sister.
He stared ahead, his voice moving in and out, between the other noises of the cafetorium. I was emotionally shocked. I had no idea what brought this on. He didn't see my tears until the women in front handed me some tissue. I met her gaze and knew she heard everything. Q lightened up when he saw the tissue, I think the attention made him happy. Then he turned to me.
"Why are you crying?" he asked totally surprised at my tears.
"I'm remembering Lauren." I answered. He instantly...matured. I saw responsibility flood his face. "I'm sorry mom." He said finally sounding like the 9 year old he is. I nodded my head and rubbed his back, but I couldn't speak. "I'm sorry" he repeated. He knew he made me cry.
I could see the kindergartners lining up for the processional.
"Quentin, I know Lauren is not here with us, but this is Noelle's special day and we do not want her to see us crying." I stated wiping my eyes. That was the only sentence Jon caught because of all the noise and music.
" Quentin, Lauren is very very happy for Noelle." he added. Quentin
Quentin was fine. I had to pull myself out of an emotional ditch and shake off the dust. My girl, my little bits, my miracle was marching into the room to offbeat music wearing her puffy retro yellow dress and pink suede shoes. My heart was lifted again. I caught her gaze and she gave me a timid wave.
I sighed in relief. "Ok. I can do this." I thought. I closed my eyes for some composure. When I opened them again and found Noelle walking towards the stage I imagined Lauren next to her. Her face is a little more angular and the mole on the far left of her cheek is bigger and darker. She is a bit more composed than Noelle and carries herself with a natural confidence. Her hair is a little longer because she actually sits still and lets me entangle her curls. I catch her eye and she hides a smile. I stop there.
It's just Noelle and I am very happy again. We stood for the Plegge of Allegiance, Jon rubs my back and whispered, "Are you Okay?" I nod. I glimpse at Q happily searching for Noelle's name in the program. There was no evidence of a breakdown. "Yay!" he says to himself when he spots her name. He proudly points it out to me. I nod, absolutely astounded at how quickly things change.