Attention Readers: This blog has temporarily fallen into the hands of a very lonely man, looking for an abstract way to commune with his absent wife, whom he misses with great ardor.
I don’t think it was 20 minutes after you left, your voice weak and compromised, your dark eyes full of tears, that Jules woke in a squeaking sorrow. After I changed him I lay him next to me and rubbed his back, trying to coax him to sleep. It didn’t work. He rolled and played. He whispered ‘Da-dee’ when he was possessed of the notion, and every 10 minutes or so he would sit up and point despairingly at your vacant pillow and moan “Ma-ma.”
You call from the airport at 7:33 “to say you love me” but I suspect you’re checking to see that I am up and starting the routine with the kids. After hanging up, I’m afraid that the hour and the aforementioned suspicion may have blocked any affectionate rays that could have shone through my morning voice. But you are gone and I’m about the business of readying and I don’t get a chance to apologize.
The others wake heavily and plod to the table asking for cereal and you. I can only give them the cereal. Jules hears the reference and recommences his tired plea, “Ma-ma.” This time it has the distinct odor of knowing about it. Like maybe my dough-eyed and wordy explanations are cutting through the thicker parts of our language barrier.
It’s 10:23 am and I’m wondering what in hell it is that you do with these boys all day.
Juli’s nap is short and unsatisfactory. While I change a sodden diaper he looks exhausted so I put him back in the crib to try another go at sleep. It doesn’t take. And I wrap him loosely in his blankets and take him down to the couch with me. On the way he whimpers at different points in the house where I assume he’s hoping to see you. I think it’s sinking in by degrees.
We sit in silence on the couch for 20 minutes—maybe 30. His breathing changes and I hope he’s collecting sleep in chunks, but I can’t see his face tucked into my shoulder, just behind my left ear. And soon he asks for Pooh. So I turn it over to the bear and his friends to continue the soothing.
In the car on the way home from P’s preschool I ask him what he wants to do today.
“Go to home depot, or something.”
“Home Depot, huh? Does that sound fun? What would we do there?”
“Just look at tools and stuff.”
I’m so tickled I don’t have a worthy reply. I just laugh.
“Is Mom home, yet?”
“She’s not, don’t you just hate that? I wish she was home too.”
You haven’t been gone 8 hours, Dear.
Tonight before bed, Hazey Jayne wrote you a note. I found it on the dining room table after I'd already put her down. It is written in pencil on a small white square of paper. Her a's look like yours and she drew a border of hearts to imbue the missive with extra affection.
Are you having a fun time at Ohio? I miss you a lot! Tell me about the things that you like when you get back! I am so glad that you are my mom.
It was 17 September, fourteen years ago, that I first hazarded to kiss you. I’d spent countless hours anticipating the sensation of meeting your full lips on mine. And when the moment came, deep in the early hours of the morning where you trembled in the dim of the light from the kitchen, it was sweet and slow.