Dearest Rachel –
Wouldn’t surprise you to know that I’ve started to forget what your voice sounded like? For all that I’ve kept your cell phone – and still continue to pay a nominal fee for it – it’s been ages since I’ve called it to hear you say how you ‘can’t come to the phone right now, but if you’ll leave name and number’ and your promise to get right back to whoever called.
The same thing goes for all those video recordings I’ve converted into digital format. The last one I did was of our wedding, and that was over a year ago. And while I’ve yet to find the recording of Daniel’s birth, I’m not sure I want to convert that, necessarily; I probably wouldn’t be allowed to post it, in any event, given certain details that you allowed to put on the camera that I’m fairly certain YouTube would have issue with (even our friend Paul, who did the recording in his professional capacity, acknowledged that he never wanted to do that again). So it’s been well over a year since I’ve heard your voice, and I wonder if I haven’t forgotten what it sounded like.
So it was a bit of a shock to see and hear from you last night (or rather, this morning). And what’s worse, for whatever reason, we couldn’t enjoy each other’s presence for that brief amount of time, as we each were dealing with our own concerns in various different scenes.
The first I saw of you, you seemed to be trying to scrub off the stove in order to work on it for one meal or another. The thing is, you were focusing on this tiny little spot, when you were surrounded by the mess that was the kitchen as you most likely remember it.
I was suggesting to you that you not worry so much about the stove as everything else, to which you responded “No, I’ve got to take care of this,” and continued scrubbing at the little spot, even as you stood in the midst of such a mess. All I could do was to drape myself over your shoulders like I used to in a form of embrace, in hopes of settling you down a little bit. I have to admit, I miss being able to do that, whether you need it or not. I hardly need to tell you, I don’t feel comfortable doing that to any of your friends – and I don’t think they’d feel comfortable if I did.
Of course, being a dream, there was no real resolution for the scene, not even any sort of dissolve. There was an interlude of sorts, in which I was dealing with getting Chompers outside, only to find you out there with him already. Yes, much to my shock, I was suddenly seeing double, as two Chompers were wandering about the front lawn, almost in stereo – or at least, in sync, turning in the same direction and at the same time as they sniffed about. I should have looked at you for clarification of the situation, but I was so surprised at the scene that all I could do was stare at the two dogs in disbelief.
And again, there was no obvious cut from one scene to another, but the next thing I knew, I was sitting down to a video game, only to hear your voice asking me to put that down and pay more attention to our guests. As I recall, two of my upperclassman (John and James – but not Dave – not that I actually saw them at all) had stopped by for a visit, and you were suggesting I meet and talk with them, which was more than fair, as they had moved on from university by the time you began attending, after all.
Now that I reflect on it, it wasn’t a particularly rose colored nostalgic trip down memory lane to hear from you. Every scenario had us dealing with one responsibility or another, and being a little short with each other in part because of it. Maybe it’s my mind’s way of keeping me from wanting to go back into that dream, because neither of us were particularly pleasant to the other in any of the scenes. I tend to think of our lives as having been more idyllic on a daily basis than all that; maybe this was just a reminder of what reality truly was like from time to time.
I’ve tried not to depict you as a saint, necessarily – indeed (and this is the young husband in me talking), there are times I quite enjoyed the sinner in you, so to speak – but I’ve probably developed something of an idealized version of you in my memory. It’s not just me; all of us do this to our past. We remember the good times, and do our level best to forget the bad, or even the mundane (although in fairness, the latter by its very nature is easy to forget), and suddenly, the people of our past might as well be images on a stained glass window.
But it was good to hear your voice again, if only briefly, and remember how you were every bit as human as I still am. Someday, we’ll be of the same immortal stuff as each other, and we can share our time together yet again; until then, I have to content myself with these little glimpses and flashes of a semi-mythical past, and look forward.
Until then, honey, keep an eye on me, and wish me luck. I’m going to need it.