Breathing the Night Air

“If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.” Maya Angelou

I remember the day I drew this picture because I fought with my husband. And in our 23 year marriage, it was the only time he hit me. I don’t even remember what we were bickering over. Just the same stupid shit that all couples argue about. He wasn’t paying enough attention to me, or our son. Maybe that was it.

I was pregnant at the time. About seven months. Large enough to be slow an emotional and uncomfortable almost all the time.

I didn’t think he would hit me, so when his hand slapped me across the right side of my face and cut my lip on my teeth, we were both shocked. He stood there looking at me and the thin trail of blood running from my mouth. And I crumpled into a heap on the floor. I sat there for some time, long enough to hear his footsteps leaving the house and hearing the door shut behind him.

I sat on the floor weeping and felt a tiny hand push my hair behind my ear. Our little son, three years old reached up his sweet baby face and kissed me on the exact place where his father had struck me. It was the sweetest kiss I’ve ever had, maybe the sweetest kiss I ever will have. And I felt so badly for him that he should have parents who could be so hateful.

I put him in the car and we drove to the coast, only ten minutes away. We walked along the docks that night. I smelled the green wind and looked up at the darkness and felt soothed by the same stars that were gazed upon by every human from the beginning of time. And my problems seemed less significant. I loved looking at the boats at night. They bobbed up and down in the waves like corks. The wind blew in from the water smelling like death and life at the same time. I could forget how homesick I was living in a foreign country with not one friend.

I drew this picture while sitting cross legged on the dock, my large belly spilling over into my lap, my little son leaning on my leg and watching my hands. I wondered at the time what he would be like as an adult. And now I know that he wears the evidence of his parents discord on the surface of his skin, and he explodes with anger unless medicated. And I see a younger me pursuing an idea I had, an idea of love, when I should have left it alone. And things have changed between my son and I. He no longer puts his head in my lap and smiles up at me. And I wonder how much less pain there would be in the world if there was no love.

This is a time lapse video of the drawing

For more about Dale:

102 thoughts on “Breathing the Night Air

    1. It’s my son’s birthday today and I’m not sure if he wants to hear from me now but I sent him some money anyway. I always liked money for a present because it goes with everything.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. You truly love without condition. You may congratulate yourself for this shining example of unconditional love for your son, whether he presently seems to see or not.

        If he shared the burdens of your search for love in sensitivity, he is also being gifted with the benefits of that search as you grow into more and more balance.

        One thing I can tell you — you are a mesmerizing writer, enough to make me return to unpleasant aspects of my own life about which I never flail myself to read any more — every word. That’s some serious writing!

        As for whether the world would be happier without love — it isn’t the love in relationships but its opposite which makes us unhappy.

        Clearly at some point you became aware that there was much less love than something very other being pointed to you by this particular person, and began to look for real love elsewhere.

        Love is what makes us happy. All our attempts to buy the creation of happiness’ facsimile around us is to convince another or others to come and be happy with us. Unless we already have intense love for our precious Selves and/or our work in the world, that world will seem in some significant way empty to us, because it is missing its most important ingredient.

        We have the choice in any relationship to allow it to degenerate into an (all too common) endless round of low grade warfare, with our culture in irs condition of rampant misery right across every demographic spectrum. We see it happen all the time.

        We also have just as much of a choice, though we are much less encouraged to connect to it, to cultivate relationships in which both parties can be routinely trusted to be on one anothers’ side, and to deserve that from the other.

        Just because this type of relationship has become so unusual among us that many if not most folks either doubt or deny outright its possibility, that does not make that possibility any less real than its opposite, the reality of which everyone acknowledges.

        If there were no love, only its opposite, the world would be unimaginably more miserable than even the world your sensitivity sees before you now.

        Don’t stop believing in love when you clearly have so much of it to give, so coherently and for the benefit of so many.

        I’m going to do something unusual by reblogging oth your beautiful post your post and the meditations it inspired in commentary on my sister site “Timeless Wisdoms,”

        And whether or not you keep searching for love– oh, my gosh, keep writing. You’re great.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Thanks so much Ana. I’m glad you found something of yourself in the writing. That is my hope for everyone. We should all feel less alone.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. My boys are now adults and I do miss the cuddles that you get so freely when they are two, three, four, five and six. Around the age of seven or eight they get very self conscious and are keen to look grown up and “cool”. They still need a mum though. It does limit how you can express their love for them. My husband’s mum still plies him with sausage rolls and cakes whenever she gets the chance. That is her way.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I never could get the hang of oils. Acrylics dry faster so you can cover your mistakes easier. Not that I make any mistakes.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Very nice intricate work, Dale – and I still hear so much love in your lines and words, both drawing images communicating the love you feel so strongly to us. Would there be less pain in our world w/out love? Oh, no, more. So much more. So thank you for not trying to be “normal” and allowing yourself to be amazing – all the best, Adan.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I too have a child who didn’t want any contact from me. It hurt, but I respected her wishes. I knew she had to work through a lot of stuff. When her birthday came around, I thought – what would I have wanted from my mother if the shoe were on the other foot? I ended up putting a happy birthday graphic on her Face Book page, so it wasn’t exactly personal contact, but she still knew I was thinking of her. The estrangement has ended, but she can still be pretty touchy. Life is messy! Let the tenderness bubble up where it can.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m not sure if you’re aware of how gifted you are as a writer, you write amazingly well. The moment when your 3 yr old kissed your wound makes me cry. I’ve lived through domestic violence as a child and it shapes our world, how we relate and who we become. It’s a choice but one made from sad circumstances, I’m sorry that your son lost his original innocence. So much hurt and beauty in the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Beautiful drawing dear Dale 😊 you are a strong woman. Understanding your pain and also your strength. May you love yourself well unconditionally and create more beautiful works..lots of love – Krishna

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I am so glad you visited my site today so I could find your beautiful art and read a story of yours that must have been so very painful and also life changing. So much is hidden from sight of both good and bad.
    I understand how much courage it takes to speak openly but think it will free you.
    Your son loves you, of that I feel sure, he is finding his own balance.


    Liked by 1 person

  6. As Jim said, very poignant story. As humans, we all have the power to both create and destroy, but we also have natural talents to create beauty within the world. It’s that potential I try to remember when life becomes tedious and challenging. I love your drawing of the shrimp boats that resulted from a very difficult personal experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You touched my heart. Your writing is beautiful and I understand your pain. Unlike you, I don’t have the courage to write explicitly about my pain. It appears disguised in some of my poems.
    Thanks for passing by my blog. I will now follow yours. Cheers, Irina

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Life can be cruel sometimes, but there is something more beautiful awaiting all those who believe, and there is Someone who loves us more than we even love ourselves. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Because you stopped by I was able to find you.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Your writings and drawings are beautifully done.
    I can definitely relate to such a place. I felt the sadness, yet the strength that came through your Son that Day.
    The Day you drove to the beach a place of safety, solitude and peace. You are valuable, so strong. Thanks for clicking on my Blog.🌹

    Liked by 1 person

  10. You touched my heart with your story, I can relate to those early days of pain in my own life too. With such honesty in your writing, perhaps the memories are healed, it all takes time and I hope you are ok despite everything.
    I like your drawings too and will take a look at more of your posts, you write with an open heart to the world, I’m sure it helps all who read.
    Thank you for liking my post.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I want to read all the encouraging comments folks have written to you but I will have to do that later. For now, I can’t believe you came by to look at a poem I wrote last week? earlier in the week? Not sure, but hope that poem was some small comfort to you. The amazing thing is that you came by just at that moment when I had just finished writing a poem I named Astral Travel about just such a period as you write of above. It was a shock to read. But I look back at my Astral Travel poem and know the difficulty in resolving it. Life was resolved in a different way. But that was a major moment in my life and it was lost (or maybe delayed.)

    Thank you for coming by.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me too JT. But the past is dust, as one wise philosopher once said. And the only thing we can do is make the best of what we have right now. So I’m just working on being the most loving Mom I know how to be even if I wasn’t the type of Mom he needed years ago.


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