That Much Emptier

Dearest Rachel –

So Kevin just left this morning, and will likely be driving through the entirety of the day, arriving home after sunset. It’s the nature of the trip, and the distance involved. He’s going home to an emptier house than ours, which is why I really shouldn’t be complaining like I am.

But this house is now suddenly emptier than it ever has been. There have always been at least three entities occupying it, between you, me, Daniel and Chompers. Sure, the house has been empty from time to time as we travel, or even go on errands. But it’s always been permanently occupied by all of us in greater quantities than now.

And now, it’s that much emptier than it ever has been in our lifetimes.

Mom invited us over after the second service today – I really hadn’t expected to be getting together with the folks this Sunday. Normally, this weekend would’ve been ideal to celebrate both their anniversary and my sister’s birthday, but with Jenn and Bill at an away game for Wheaton this weekend, that wasn’t feasible. So when Mom extended the invitation to come over, I was slightly surprised.

Not that I was about to turn it down; there is, after all, no reason any more to hurry back to the house, no hungry and lonely dog to attend to. He is now, I should hope, happily with you, and Daniel and I are at liberty to go when and where we want to – within the bounds of certain mandates and requirements of business, of course.

While Daniel and I hadn’t decided what to do for Sunday dinner, upon receiving Mom’s invitation, I came up with a suggestion that harkened back to my childhood; that of picking up chicken at Brown’s. Back in the day, dad would stop by a local franchise (which is now occupied by a Walgreens and the parking lot for the local Mariano’s) on special occasions – which is to say, when he felt like it and could afford it. These days, I guess it’s up to me to return the favor – if only to a reduced extent, since Dad still can’t have any, and Jenn has her own family, and as such is not part of this little gathering.

I’m still not good at calculating how much to order any more. Mom‘s appetite isn’t quite what yours was, and so I wound up ordering more than we really needed for the three of us. It was still nice to order for three people, although to be fair, I’ve been doing that a little bit all this past week.

We ate at their place, enjoying each other’s company. Dad had already been fed by the time we got to the house, and was merely a participant in the conversation as opposed to the meal. At least he probably took up some sherbet once we finished just about everything else up.

And while we had no particular reason to hurry home, I don’t know… I just didn’t feel like staying once we were done with our meal. It’s probably from force of habit, which is going to take time to wean myself off of.

Even now, as I sit around downstairs while Daniel takes his bath, I find myself surprisingly reluctant to get comfortable enough to take my shoes off, under some strange misapprehension that I’ll need to go outside (with the dog) at some point. Similarly, I find myself looking at the clock from time to time, concerned about what I’ll need to do once it approaches six o’clock.

Only… there’s nothing that needs to be done. I don’t have to prepare a meal – let alone a series of MREs – nor do I have to take him out any more (because, as per a tasteless pun I used to make when you used that specific phrase, I’ve already ‘taken him out’).

And I almost don’t know what to do with myself. Perhaps I should be taking a nap, and continue to catch up on my sleep debt, but at the moment I’m not really feeling like that. And if neither your brain nor your body want to go to sleep, there’s not much you can really do to force the issue. So I find myself just sitting here, watching video after video to pass the time; at least I can watch sports if I want to, as he’s not around, but that’s very small consolation.

I really wish you were here, honey. I wish there was someone like you, at least, to fill these empty times and spaces. Because there are going to be so many more of them in the days, and weeks, and months, and years to come if I don’t do something about it.

And I don’t know how much of it I can take.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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