There is a hidden me that no one sees. He is right next to you in the theater, watching with you but feeling something different. While you are laughing the hidden me is holding back tears condensed from a fleeting glimpse of something that reminded him of Richie. The hidden me fakes a laugh so as not to arouse the suspicions of those next me. The outer me is enjoying the film with you while the hidden me is breaking apart inside. After some time passes my facade wrestles the hidden me into a détente – a tenuous truce where the hidden me recedes further into the shadow of my being, waiting for its opportunity to hide in plain sight again.
The hidden me is right next to you in bed, hearing the silence of your peaceful slumber: careful to ensure his sobs don’t disturb the peace you appear to be in; all the while envious of your unconscious state – unfettered and out of touch with the nightmarish reality that our little boy is gone forever. Soon those sobs that started as a trickle swell with the growing tide of my despair and the hidden me shudders at your comforting touch – acknowledging its failure to remain in the shadows. In that rare event in which the hidden me fails, it concedes its discovery to the power of your loving words and gentle caress – a power that only you, my love, has.
For the majority of the time the hidden me is much more successful in in its ability to skulk in plain site; its only feint a quick twitch or head shake belying the seemingly collected and cool facade. The distant drone of sirens, its burgeoning sound acting like a chisel chipping away my peace, reminds me every time of that last image I have of my little boy – yet my hidden self adeptly hides the pain that terrible sound etches upon my well being. Swimming in a pool calls forth my hidden self to hide the agony gripping my heart as it invariably calls forth images of that awful moment, carefully masking the inner pain with forced laughter and forged smiles. Watching fathers playing with their sons is where my hidden self truly hones its theatrical artistry as it displays an outwardly approving grin while under the curtain exists my heart aching for the ability to do that, even just one more time, with Rees. oh yes, my hidden self is a master of his art – so masterful that it conceals my jealousy of every happy father, playing with their sons, behind a veil of smiles and approving grins an act that would place me amongst the upper echelon of great thespians.
I do not wish to be a prisoner of my hidden self. I want to scream “I’m not ok!” , or “No!!!” – yet my hidden self stops me at every turn. I want to tell people just how low I actually feel, yet my hidden self has me speaking in front of hundreds of people pretending to be strong. Strength is merely perception… I only appear strong because of the illusion my hidden self has created. That is precisely why I write: my hidden self cannot stop my written words. These writings provide the balance that I require to keep moving forward, and ensure that my hidden self cannot remain in the shadows forever. I am not sure if the pain is ever going to subside, but I do know the words I write today keep my hidden self from preventing the truth from being exposed. I am both strong and week, happy and sad. They say that actions speak louder than words and that is precisely why ReesSpecht life exists: through action I can ensure that the perception of my strength can be used to help others in a tangible way… And the expression of my weakness can help me.