Dearest Rachel –
It’s been an unusual day today. After scheduling the plan last week due to some unforeseen delays at the airport, Kat has invited Daniel over to her place, where they’ll do pretty much the same thing that Logan does when he comes here: watching anime. So this means the house has been empty since ten this morning, and will be until ten or so tonight.
I’ve been keeping fairly busy, mowing the lawn almost as soon as Daniel left (because I had to wait for the grass to dry out, but didn’t wanna wait too long, when it would be too hot to work outside) and doing a couple of loads of laundry. Yes, yes, I know; I should be training him to do those tasks himself. Especially since I don’t like doing them anymore than he does. The thing is, I see the need sooner than he does. If nothing else, I go through clothes not faster than he does. So it’s only fair that I do most of the work there, right?
Look, it’s all something to keep me busy, and keep my mind off of the silence in the house. And yes, I know Daniel doesn’t make a lot of noise (well, unless you count the videos he has running on his phone almost all the time when he’s awake), but it’s very different when he’s not here, and I know he’s not here. If I sit in the middle of the quiet too long, it gets scary quiet.
I suppose I should explain. It’s not scary in the sense of a haunted house or anything like that; if nothing else, it’s broad daylight. It’s not that kind of scary. But the silence is full of this sort of existential dread. It’s the sort of silence or your mind wanders to places that you really rather it wouldn’t.
Places like the never ending, nagging question ‘why?’ Why you, and not me? I sense that, among people that knew both of us, that given the choice, most of them would’ve preferred you would have stayed, and I would have gone. So why am I still here?
For every moment you lived, I was already two years up on you. Even the day you departed, I had some seven hundred days over you, and every day since has added to that tally. Does that seem even remotely fair?
I try to listen to music, and I hear voices of people who were big when I was a toddler, or not even born yet. Some of them are still alive, even. That doesn’t seem right. So I can’t drown out the silence with music.
I suppose I should be trying to sleep, and catch up with what I couldn’t get overnight, since Chompers is lying passed out in the dining room. But it’s too bright and cheerful outside, and I can’t quite bring myself to that level of lassitude. At least, not yet.
Besides, even as I dictate it, he’s waking up. Even with the air conditioner on, he’s panting, baring his teeth in that wide open mouth look that you and Ellen used to refer to as his ‘happy face.’ To be honest, I really don’t know that he’s happy about anything.
I wish I could ask him whether I was doing a good job. I know in comparison to you, he’s one of those that would prefer you were here rather than me, and I don’t blame him. I don’t know what I’m doing when it comes to dogs, or any animal. I’m just doing what I figure needs to be done. I expect you’ll hear from him soon enough about whether I’ve done a good job or not – probably not.
You would’ve made the silence so much more bearable. Indeed, it probably wouldn’t have been silence at all. Sharing each other’s company, even if it was just a few hours of sitting here in the family room, watching videos, playing computer games… there was no concern for the future, no existential dread, no fears, no worries.
And that was all either of us needed.
I wish I could at least say I felt your presence around here. Sure, there’s the odd silk floral arrangement purple, of course there are the pictures, your books, your handwritten letters, your water bottle, your urn. But these things have none of your spirit in them, at least none that I can detect.
And really, why would your spirit stay around here, when heaven awaits? Go further in, and higher up, as Aslan said at the Last Battle. Greet Jack Lewis and old man Tolkien for me, and say hello to the folks at Home.