Dearest Rachel –
Well, it’s not quite been two months, but we’ve reached something of a milestone. Spring is upon us – at least, according to the split of daytime to nighttime. I’ve been hearing about something called “Chicagohenge” wherein the rising and setting sun throw light westward and eastward respectively for blocks. I’d never heard the expression before, and I’ve lived here all my life. Of course, I don’t live amongst the skyscrapers and high-rises that make that effect so impressive, so there’s that. Still, you learn something new every day, and now you know (“And knowing is half the battle – G. I. Joe! I really miss those inside jokes, honey).
Now, along with this new information, there is the old: you might remember wondering with me as to whether Chompers was going to make it this far. He has, although it’s been a rocky road. At least today is pleasant enough (although I think he may have seasoned my jeans the last time I hauled him outside. Needless to say, I’m doing a few loads of laundry today): another one of those days where, when the sun hits you just right and the wind dies down, that you think you can adjust to this new normal.
Then a neighbor calls from across the fence and asks how you’re doing, and it all comes back to me.
Even a simple “How’re you doing?” carries so much more weight than the usual simple pleasantry that it used to be. Now – at least when both of us tacitly understand why the question is really being asked – it’s just one more reminder of the fact that my life isn’t expected to be ‘fine’ or ‘all right’ or anything like that for now, and folks actually kind of want to know. Whether out of actual concern, or something more akin to morbid curiosity, or something somewhere in between, I’m (and Daniel is, but he’s not outside at the moment) a figure of interest… and while I appreciate the apparent expression of concern, I’m snapped back to full awareness of having lost you, and it’s really almost all I can do to issue some stock response like, “Oh, you know” (when of course they don’t) “just taking things as they come, day by day,” or some such.
I seriously don’t know what I’m supposed to do to move forward sometimes, honey – or even if I’m supposed to move forward. I can’t – shouldn’t – erase you from my life, but how else do I walk toward the future when I’m freighted as I am by the past life I had with you?
I keep thinking there’s this bright line in my life all of a sudden – a kind of B.C. and A.D. type of split. The past with you, and the future without you… but I’m stuck in a sort of nebulous year zero state where I can’t let go of the B.C. in order to get to the A.D. And again, I think I understand that I shouldn’t be in such a rush to move on, but it isn’t as if time stands still for me to stop and recover.
Time moves on, whether I can or not. The seasons change.
At least, I suppose, the sun is out, and spring is here.
I just wish you were here to enjoy it with me.