Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Miles in Berlin

[Written on Sept 15th but I didn't have a chance to post until just now...]

I'm waiting at the airport for my son. His flight is about half an hour late and of course I got here way too early. Most people in Berlin don't know that I have a grown son. I had him way young (actually it was an immaculate conception when I was 8 years old but no one believes me). It's weird to me that he's an adult and that I had this whole other life when I was a mom. So when Miles said that he bought tickets and he was coming to visit me, I started to tell people that my little brother was coming. Partly because I'd have to really open up to everyone here and I'm not sure if I'm ready to do that. (It's so refreshing not to be in your hometown where everyone seems to have known you since you were an angry 14-year-old.) And also, I knew everyone would instantly wonder how old I am.

Two years ago, I somehow got involved with a much younger guy for a very brief moment in London and when he dropped me for no reason, I wondered if it was because I was ten years older than him. Not that we ever had a discussion about this. But it did seem that our understandings & experiences were so different simply because of the different times that we came of age. The way I realized that he must be way younger was a discussion when I mentioned the fall of the Berlin Wall & I realized he had no personal memory of it.

I've never been anxious about my age before. This is a whole new thing for me. I was at a gal's 28th birthday party and a mutual friend told her that she had to start lying about her age. (Yes, I know, craaaazy...) I'm a lot older than 28 but this thought never entered my mind until the incident with that guy in London. 

My whole life I've been hampered by things I have little control over: my gender, my ethnicity, my lack of money. And now, great, let's add age to this list. Well, actually, age was an issue when I first began working in theater since I was too young to be taken seriously. And now I'm too old to still be "emerging." I never seem to be able to do anything when I'm supposed to.

But after a few weeks of telling people about my "little brother," I'm thinking, to hell with it. I was a single mom and it was damn tough. And I was a good mom even though I had no idea about parenting from my own parents who were never around and treated me terribly. Miles calls me and says he misses me, so I must have done something right to have a son who actually wants to spend time with me. And he's a huge reason why I am who I am today. Before he came into my life, I didn't know that I could be loved. So not mentioning that I have a son just feels like I'm denying a huge and essential part of myself. 

And Miles still kicks my butt. On my own, I mostly don't care that I have barely enough money to eat. On my own, I rarely want to buy anything unless it's something for a show. But for Miles, I want a nice place for him to stay and enough money to take him out to dinner and I can't wait to go out dancing with him and his lovely girl. I've been hustling these last three weeks in a way that I've never done before in Berlin. 

I'm also a little nervous meeting him and feeling sentimental that he's now an adult. My beautiful little boy who used to gaze at me with such adoration. I envy more stable parents that they kept their child with them through their teenage years. We lost our home when he was 16 and since then, I've never spent more than a day with him here and there. Even after I found a new place for us to live, he decided to stay at his father's friend's place, perhaps so he wouldn't be a burden on me. 

He's older now than I was when I had him. So our relationship will be different than when I last spent time with him. And we'll be together almost every day for nearly a month. I hope that we can be good friends. I hope I can make it up to him for losing our home and sending him out in the world before he was really ready. 

[This is when Miles tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Hello, mom."]

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