for someone who wasn't your mother, i was well received. bright lights in your eyes, the soft feel of your newborn skin, and the first echoes of your voice played out as you rested with me. the first pair, gloved in blue latex and tainted with that hospital smell.
for someone that was stark interruption in your only-child life, i was well received. soft dark wisps of hair and a playful, toothless grin. i was here to share your toys and your attention, to be your first best friend. the second pair, small in your two year old eyes, moving constantly, with the tiniest fingernails.
for someone that tested the limits of your five year old attention span, i was well received. endless hours of stories from "back in the day" and the smell of rose perfume that isn't made anymore. the third pair, covered in freckles and wrinkled with age.
for someone who you would later realize shattered your fortress of trust, i was well received. drunken kisses and liquor stained lips, a criminal spell of violation that would be a secret for years. the fourth pair, middle aged and dirty with an acidic touch that burned at your eight year old skin.
for someone that was complained about often by a variety of students, i was well received. a kind voice and calm demeanor, a place to come for quiet space after the anxious lull of classes, a trustworthy spirit with a knack for noticing your eleven year old potential. the fifth pair, book laden and calloused from writing.
for someone who called to question the validity of your sexuality, i was well received. gentle laughter and a wide-open perspective, a spray of curly hair and a smile like the sun touching the hills in your fifteenth year. the sixth pair, trapped the soul of a first love and brushed your face before the kiss that shattered everything you thought you were.
for someone that didn't communicate in the same way your nineteen year old self was accustomed to, i was well received. you have me to thank for your fascination with language and your return to college, my smile and presence far outweighing my lack of words. the seventh pair, small and quick, with a life-changing array of sentences and a new perspective on sign language.
for someone who was more of a surprise than you could've ever imagined, i was well received. with a sparkling gaze and an innocence that was too much to bear, and at twenty two, you realized the ability to begin again, even on your own. the eighth pair, the tiniest you'd ever seen, were about to grasp your heart with the kind of love you didn't know existed.
for someone who asked more questions than you knew how to answer, i was well received. an overpriced suit and eyes that chilled your thirty four year old body to the bone, but with a softness that suggested a humbling past. the ninth pair, large and firm, sealed the handshake that sold your first book.
for someone that had walked along the same path and called out too many times, i was well received. to your fifty year old self, i was a face worn with exhaustion and a wavering sense of possibility, a voice like a light in the dark. the tenth pair, tough and strong, coaxed the vodka bottle from you and hepled you from the ground.
for someone who was so upfront about their intentions, i was well received. with honey-tainted humor and a taste for both expensive wine and cheap takeout, i brought you, at sixty eight, immediately back to your younger days. the eleventh pair, with a ring placed on my fourth finger, i held you.
for someone who sealed your ageless soul's fate, i was well received. with an outspoken generosity and an ability to swiftly remove your entire world out from under you, i welcomed you into my arms. the twelfth pair, unseen by the living, accepting of the dead.
for someone that knew me better than i cared to admit, you, reader, were most definitely well received. and now, you have the thirteenth and final pair, and whatever color, texture, or state of wear they may be, they are grasping this memoir, and with it a perspective that i hope you hold onto.