Rainbows were apparently abounding over Brooklyn and Manhattan today, but I didn’t see any of them. And of course, it was raining all afternoon and then the sun broke out, hence the rainbows. And that’s pretty much a good estimation of how I’m feeling this week.
It’s like in the early days when I sat with your family telling them that you were like Enoch or Elijah and that God had just taken you and left us your body to find. They all nodded in agreement.
But then later, I read that dying in the lakes of Switzerland is the second highest cause of death for young men who live there.
After the mysticism leaves, logic and science and reason are waiting to prove themselves.
My thoughts have been varied and hard to wrap up into neat little posts- or stages of grief even. They are all taking their turns at the forefront throughout the course of one single day. I think about how tainted is my past- and how the future I imagined has evaporated with just one swim.
I negotiate- perhaps if I had been a better wife. Perhaps if I been a worse wife and forbid you to go. Perhaps if you see how strong I am being- you will be so proud- or perhaps if you see me yelling at your daughter while I am grieving and mothering a toddler and losing my patience- maybe that would be enough to raise you from the grave. Most of this is on the subconscious level most of the time.
I feel like time travel might be possible. Like I might be able to tell the me in the past about this and she might be able to call you at your hotel. I imagine the scene as though it’s in a movie. “Dan…I have to tell you something. Can you hear me?” Maybe there’d be static or a bad connection at this point. “You can’t go swimming today in Lake Geneva. You’re going to die. Don’t ask me how I know, I just do. Listen to me- whatever you do- don’t even go near the water, OK?” You would sound confused and puzzled and tell me I worry too much and I’m too fearful and it’s a beautiful lake- “You should see it,” you’d say.
I feel anger and I look for someone or something to blame. Isn’t that what we do? In modern society- it seems we’re all taught to blame our parents for all our deepest issues and problems even into adulthood- enter therapy. But who can I blame now?
Who can be placed up on the stand to be questioned? God? You? The self-absorbed man who swam out deeper than I know you would’ve and then went on by himself when you said you were cold and turning back? Can I blame the people who told me, “Oh, no, you’ve got to let him live out his dreams. It’s hard but you have to support him” and let him travel around the world by himself while you stay at home with a toddler.
I sit at the kitchen table in the quiet, listening to the hum of the refrigerator which for some reason has sounded louder than it used to ever since you died, unbearably loud. Audrey is in her crib tossing around the way toddlers do as they try to find sleep.
I sit and stare at the photograph of you next to her when she was a newborn. I try to remember what it felt like to have you come in the apartment so casually. To hear you turn the lock of the door, to see you come in the kitchen, throw something out in the garbage, or get a glass of water. I try to understand how it was so casual and so expected then, so taken for granted.
And I think about how I still can hear the sound of each door lock turning as you came home in all three of our apartments we lived in together. I can hear your footsteps going up the creaky steps of the old brownstone, the door shutting with a bang in Bay Ridge, and see our bedroom knob turning here so quietly so you didn’t wake up Audrey across the hall. I was always waiting, always worrying, always grateful to hear those sounds. I don’t hear them anymore and what’s worse- I don’t have any expectation of hearing them.
I turn off the kitchen light and head into our room, my room, for the night. You are never coming home.