Dearest Rachel –
I think that, as long as I continue to write you every day, I’m not going to be able to let the 23rd of the month pass without comment. Much as I’d like to get over it, I don’t think it’s possible for me to do so for the foreseeable future, unless I were to stop thinking about you – and the fact that I keep writing you rather precludes that. That being said, I’m not sure that I ever even should try and put you behind me and forget you. So once again, for this month – as well as so many yet to come – I must mark the anniversary. I won’t say “happy 16th month” or the like, as it’s not particularly a joyous thing to celebrate – although maybe for you, it actually is, come to that.
This mournful topic is compounded by the fact that today happens to be a Monday. It’s that day when one gets ‘back to the grindstone,’ as the expression goes. The fact that we’re getting back from an unusually active weekend just makes the contrast all that more obvious. The end of a convention was always a letdown for the both of us; we hated to see it end, and I never looked forward to going back to a job that I didn’t enjoy, and a boss that, while I’ll try to avoid saying I hated, I will at least admit to having hated dealing with him.
But back then, there wasn’t an option to simply ditch the next day. Even if I had the vacation time, there would still be stuff to deal with at the office at some point; I’d have to go back eventually.
One of the great improvements that time and circumstances have wrought, though, is that this is no longer a requirement in my life. The constant drip of day after day, combined with the occasional tidal wave of events, have worked the magic of erosion upon that grindstone. No longer is it bulky, heavy and soul-crushing to lug around. These days, it’s more like a whetstone instead – it’s small, light, smooth, and if used properly, I can actually sharpen myself with it. And, should I so choose, I don’t need to bother with it at all – I can let myself get dull over time if I want to. It’s not necessarily advisable to do something like that – even in my quasi-retired state, I’ve been advised (and I’ve agreed that I need) to keep myself both occupied and useful with the skills I’ve acquired from study and experience.
In a way, the beginning of a ‘work’ week is even somewhat welcome, as it gets me out of the house – and out of the way of the builders, who are now hanging drywall around the kitchen (Granted, despite it being absolutely lovely weather outside – which keeps me from getting too lugubrious about this anniversary – I’ve concluded that I’ve spent enough days in a row getting my ten thousand steps, and that I’m going to drive rather than walk to the ‘office’ today. Maybe I’ll walk to the local shopping center after I return home; we’ll just have to see). The silence and calm of the ‘office’ is so much more conducive to getting things done than the cacophony of saws, drills and hammers that are in constant use back at the house (although, on reflection, I’m basically speaking for myself, here – clearly, that racket is absolutely essential for them to get anything done. It’s all a matter of perspective).
It’s also nice to catch up with the folks after such a weekend. Talking with coworkers about such topics was one thing, back in the day, but it’s easier with my parents – even if I did just see them yesterday at the year-end celebration at church. They’re parents, after all – they want to know what their kid (and grandkid) have been up to, as opposed to just making small talk.
So, while there’s stuff that needs getting done (and in my own heart, another letter that needs to be written and sent off to you), it’s not the awful chore that it used to be. Sure, it’s not the frantic excitement that running around at a convention – nor the lazy relaxation of a vacation weekend – but it has its points to it, and it’s a necessary part of life, even life after gainful employment. And I might as well get on with it for today.
Just as soon as I remind you that I love you, and miss you, and no matter how many months go by, I will always remember. Take care of yourself, and keep an eye out for me until next time.