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What Will You Never Know?
Another thing I will never know."
I will never know what it is like to live with a different skin colour or blond hair or blue eyes. I will never know what it is like to be tall and skinny. I'm five feet, four inches and I will never be my preferred height: five feet, eight inches. I have no idea where that height preference came from or why it has been that specific for years - maybe because I am the right weight for someone that tall. I have never wanted to be six feet, or five feet, ten inches. Really tall people sometimes feel less huggable to me.
I will never know what it is like to be dead. I am assuming at that point, I will be dead and the I who is writing this won't have a clue what dead is like.
I will never know my youth again or what it is like to have a father. I didn't know the one I had. He wasn't around much. I remember when I was twenty and going to University how Diane's dad showed me how to change the spark plugs for in my Bobcat "beater car" in the garage of his house in Sudbury. It felt like the ultimate father-daughter thing to do. Diane wasn't there and didn't want to be there. But I was thrilled getting my hands dirty having this really solid man; a really solid father show me how to clean and install spark plugs including checking the gap to make sure that it was just right for clear firing. He wore navy blue overalls. I was in old Laurentian U sweats. It was one of my favourite hours. Ever. It fed my imagination regarding what a father could be. It may have only juiced the positive stereotypical image but it was mine to keep.
I will never know what it is like to give birth to a child or raise a child and I will never be a child again.
I will never know the names of all the trees or flowers or types of grass or kinds of juniper or how many crows live in the forest across the parking lot behind my house or how many pigeons live in the pigeon condominium at Mabel Dodge or how many loons are on Windy Lake although I once counted fifty. As I look at the two small rocks that sit on my desk that I picked up from below the white cross on Taos enchanted land, I will never know how many pairs of feet have walked on the Penitent Path across sacred land or how many people have sat on the seats at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church or how many men it took to build my house. There were never any women here as it arose from a vacant piece of land.
I will never know what my mother went through when her Volkswagen skidded on black ice and plunged off the cliff. I will never know her fear as she crawled out the driver's window and stood there in shock, in snow up to her waist. I will never know the terror as she lay in the hospital with a stethoscope permanently attached to her ears at one end and her belly at the other. Listening. Praying. Listening. Praying. A faint heart beating. I will never know an expectant mother's terror. My heart breaks open wide as I write this. She was waiting for me.
I will never know yesterday again. I mean really know it. Not just as a memory but as an experience. I may run through it, write about it, regret it, enjoy it but I will never walk those exact steps again. It makes me pay more attention to my steps today.
I will never taste all the kinds of chocolate that exists on the face of the planet. But that challenge I will endeavour to rise to.
I will never taste every kind of sweet, sour, salty, bitter foods there are.
I will never run a marathon.
I may never run again at all.
I will never walk on every beach,
never sing every song ever sung,
never read all the books,
never write all the poems,
never see all the sights.
And I will never get every single word written. As much as I wish I could. I never will.
I will never know what it is like to be raised in a country other than Canada. Even as often as I travel to the US, I will never know what it is like to be an American.
© Joanne Hunt