Friday, August 22, 2014

A Deeper Breath

Hey Mike, I've been looking at the Eastern sky, thinking that this is the sky you are staring into. Laundry has piled up on your side of the bed and I haven't folded it because it's at least a comforting shape next to me. It is not you, not warm enough to be you.

I've tried to imagine where you are on that imaginary line through the Olympics. I've kept track of how many miles you may have hiked. I've tried to imagine the view in the temperate rain forest. I've thought of the food you're eating, unconsciously making food for Nick and I with pasta or rice, food with bits of chicken or beef and vegetables.

We have kept our schedule, hanging out with friends each day, going to karate and the gym and the Boy Scout meeting. We've even shopped for food and walked the dog. Yes, things are on schedule, for the most part.

But we seem to be quietly staying up too late, as if we're waiting. We're getting along better than we usually do. There is a mild melancholy thrown over us. We're more grateful for our friends and for each other.

I woke in a sweat this morning, thinking that you might be having trouble. I gently told myself you could as easily be having a great trip. The people you're with are amazing boys and men. I trust them to care for you if you need it. The people you're with are good friends and are bound to become deeper friends.

And still I worried that you weren't sleeping, that you might be sore, that you might not be eating enough, or worse, that you might not be drinking enough. So much can happen in the woods. One small mistake can float gently down upon another small mistake and so on until the quiet night has drifted under three feet deep and someone is in serious trouble without anyone ever noticing.

I have to tell myself to take a deeper breath. I have to tell myself to do the things I wrote on my list to do, some of which you have asked me to take care of. The night out my window seems dark and the cars whizzing by seem like strangers. I found out yesterday that a friend drives past my house on his way to and from work and it was a small comfort that I have to remind myself of now.

If you were at home, you'd be asleep by now. The house would be as quiet as it is now. The dog would be sighing for me to turn out the light and leave him to his rest. But it would be a peaceful quiet and I would revel in it.


I am alright and you are probably alright too. But after ten days gallivanting around France with my sister in June, and your week at camp with Nick and the younger Scouts in July, and now this, another week without you, because you're on a trail in the wilderness in August, I am ready to settle into ordinary days of errands and meals and volunteering and the work of caring for our house in September. I am ready, past ready really, to have you come back home, even if all you will do is quietly fall asleep on the couch with the TV on, even if Nick and I both chatting at you at the same time until we realize that you're dozing, even if we have to turn down the volume and tip-toe around your chair. I am ready to look at the pink of your cheeks and your eyelashes lying across them and your head tilted a bit too far to one side. I am ready for you to be home, even if all I get to do is kiss you hello before I need to leave you be for a while. That will be the moment when I'll be able to take a deeper breath again and the air will be so sweet.

Thank you for listening, jb

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