For my wonderful parents

All this is not to say I'm unhappy

I just mean to say;

"Why can't I stop thinking of

how things could have been?"

"Maybe if she'd stayed a few more weeks?

If he'd been more flexible?"

no, no, stop that thought

and tears build up in my eyes

"I'm happy"

(don't get me wrong)

"We're a blended family"

I smile,

Masking my hurt, cracked open heart

"It works for us."

Maybe for them, not for me

The corners of my mouth pull down

As my breath catches

in my sore throught

I pull them back up.

And open my eyes a little wider.

The scab has grown over pretty well now

After 15 years of every-other-week

Head held up high, back straight

I smile,

biting back a sob.

Don't pick that scab

It's such an impulsive act

You'll regret it.

"I want us all to be together again."

I choke.

I could invent a night by the fire

Singing old folk songs together

I could dream of waking to

the gentle hum of their voices,

Mixing and blending in harmony.

Or I could wipe these tears,

now streaming freely

out of my red eyes,

And pretend we never had this conversation.