Dearest Rachel –
There’s about two hundred guys up at camp this weekend. Neither Daniel nor I are among them.
Needless to say, this Saturday seems… off.
Normally, at this hour, I’d be returning from the Bible study, probably after running an errand or two in the process. I won’t say that I’ve been there ‘without fail,’ as I’ve overslept at least once, and there was the Colorado trip back in September. But I’ve tried to stay as faithful as possible. So it almost feels strange not to have set my alarm this morning in order to attend.
It’s almost like being back to when we had our Saturdays together. I can call up and watch some anime, or the odd sports video that you allowed me to indulge in. And I suppose the latter in particular I can enjoy without feeling like you’re missing out (not that you’d consider any happenings upon this earth to be something that you’re ‘missing out’ on).
But it’s not the same, sitting in a half empty bed, flipping from one video to the next. Even an activity such as this, where you’re not really interacting with the other person in the room, still doesn’t feel right without you here. And that’s not even taking into account what we would normally be doing together on a Saturday morning once you woke up.
Adding to the void is the fact that I haven’t heard from Naruko for the past day or two. After several consecutive days of chitchatting first thing in the morning, including a point where she dangled the possibility that she would find out on Friday whether or not her assignment was complete and she might be returning home to Skokie, the last two mornings have been silent. I really was looking forward to the possibility of meeting her, and she seem to be in agreement on that. But now? Well, I don’t know. I send a single text each morning, just to find out how her day has been, and leave it at that. There’s no point in appearing desperate. And yes, that is how the game is played, I suspect.
Since I can’t talk about my memories of Saturdays past, perhaps I should elaborate on the scenarios of the future my mind constructs for me to wander about in. Because the silence allows my mind to conjure up all manner of possibilities as to what’s happening on the other side of the world. All of which are patently ridiculous; while life has a few extraordinary days (both wonderful and awful) in it, most of them are fairly banal, no matter where in the world you are.
To be sure, what might be ordinary to one person could very well be exotic to another (it’s why I, on our cruises, when we had no shore excursions planned in a given city, I was just as happy to wander into a Tesco or a Carrefour just to see how different it was from home). It was, after all, a visit to a Randalls grocery store (I wish I could take pride of name on this, but I’m not the only Randall in America, after all), not the Johnson Space Center nor the Statue of Liberty, that convinced Boris Yeltsin that communism was a failure (would that our current leaders could remember that!). Even Gorbachev couldn’t get his hands on a pudding pop back in the U.S.S.R.
I suspect she’s just busy tending to the day-to-day operations of her assignment, and just can’t get back to me for whatever reason. That doesn’t prevent me from imagining up a best case (she got the word that her assignment was over, and she’s flying home from Phnom Penh right now, and will text me that she’s back in town out of the blue as a surprise – possibly even needing to be picked up at O’Hare shortly) and worst case (I probably answered one of her questions not to her liking, and she’s ghosted me for somebody else she may have found on the app – which she’s more than entitled to do, but I guess I’d like to know whether or not to hold out hope) scenario as to why I’m not hearing from her. If it weren’t for the fact that, if you were still here, I wouldn’t even be doing this in the first place, I’m sure you’d find this search of mine – and the conclusions that I jump to – quite amusing. All of which is why I’m telling you about them, so you can laugh with everybody else at my fears and fantasies.
This is where my mind goes on a Saturday when I have nothing better to do or think about. That’s why I have to keep myself busy; I can only let my mind do this so often before I really go ’round the bend.
At least this evening I’ve got a meeting to go to; the World Vision running team is meeting at someone’s house just up the road to plan a 24-hour run from church to camp next month. No, I’m not running – the fact of the matter is that what runners there will be will need a support team behind them. And as we always used to joke with each other, if you can’t be an athlete, be an athletic supporter. So, here I am.
Which I’m sure might strike you as a little bit odd. After all, why am I staying home from camp this weekend, and going up next month instead?
I’m going to suggest that it’s a matter of being needed, as opposed to trying to be fed. Whether that makes sense or not, I’ll leave that up to you. Maybe it’s just that I think I’ll be ready by then, although after nine months – see, I remembered that it’s been nine months to the day! – what difference would one more make toward that?
I may have more on the subject later on. Until then, honey, as always, wish me luck.