They started linking chains to Mouse before she even able to walk out of her little house. That little house that someone slammed between two trees in front of a cow pasture. That house that was on a winding road that ended at the highway. Close enough that you could hear the cars. Close enough that at night you could even see the light. Of people going right by you. Like you didn’t exist.
And most of our mothers will need us more than we need them. Just as we will one day need our children more than they need us. That was supposed to happen later than age 9. But that link got added when most of us were still learning how to use our house keys. That link wrapped straight around her spine.
When we were children as soon as the teacher blew the whistle everyone would run. Everyone would scream. Mouse would stand. And as everyone claimed their favorite social spot, monkey bars, swings, slides, soccer fields, Mouse would stand and wait. Then she would determine by elimination which group she would stand near.
After high school we screamed and ran. College, jobs, countries and Mouse stood and waited. And as she did chains got added. Money, ex-boyfriends, friends on drugs, her Mother’s newest husband. Mouse stood and tried to figure things out. She could hear the highway from her house. She could see the lights passing right by.
Eventually she ran. She planted her feet somewhere else. Those chains looked for a second like they might break. That was just slack. And slack snaps. A thousand miles of slack snapping into place will rip your joints out of socket. It will dislocate your hips. It will bring you to your knees. It makes your vision go double. It will make crashing down into the pile of chains an act of relief. So Mouse fell back down to that little house. The lights from the highway bounced off of those trees. And Mouse was in less pain there.
And one thousand miles away from her I wonder how free any of us get to be.