What is Left

by | Aug 30, 2011 | 1 comment

I wonder how long I’ll dream of you nightly.  The other night you shook your head at me and told me that my taste in music was slipping.  So you.

The truth is I can’t really listen to music anymore.  Or watch movies.  Or even eat a good meal and thoroughly enjoy it.  These were your things, and our things.  We met because of music.  We fought because of it.  You died while you were away from me doing it.  You were full of pop culture knowledge. We thoroughly critiqued each movie that we saw afterwards but I had a very bad memory in that I never remembered which movies I had already seen.  You were in charge of telling me, “You already saw that…don’t you remember?”  I never enjoyed food, truly, until we were together.  We introduced different kinds of foods to each other.  We ordered as a duo- choosing things we both wanted to try so we could try them both.  You’d never order something I didn’t like also even though I’d sometimes insist, “No, please just order it!” Eating felt celebratory together.  Now it just feels kind of gross and lonely.

Thus, I’ve found the only options left to me, are the things that I did by myself and that were thoroughly mine.  Like decorating, homemaking, making to-do list after to-do list.  Writing I suppose, like this, which is always a solitary occupation.

I remember how frustrated I would get when you were alive, especially when we were first married, that you didn’t take an interest in some of those more domestic subjects.  Then one day I had an epiphany.  I pictured you actually taking an interest in those things, in a humorous way.  Coming to me with ripped out pages from catalogs to tell me what new throw rug you thought would like nice in the entryway, or if you nagged me about leaving the sponge full of water (wait, you did do that- you were after all, the dishwasher), or telling me to spray the shower spray every day like I told you to.  I laughed at this image and later shared it with you.  I kept it with me whenever I became frustrated again, and I would think, I would not want him to be like that, so it’s OK.

So, those are the things I am left with, and they aren’t much, and they aren’t that satisfying, and mostly- they’re not really “fun.”  Sometimes I wonder if I’ll ever have that again…fun.  Watching my daughter have fun is good, but not the same.

I am missing sharing those things with you very much lately.  I am envious of a couple walking hand in hand by the river, sitting across from each other in a restaurant, or even in the car next to me while we’re stopped at a light.  I look in the car for just a moment and sense the casual ease,  the unspoken companionship, and the feeling that things will always be the way they are.  I know better.


August 30, 2011

1 Comment

  1. Anne D

    It is not the same, not even similar, not a good comparison, so I apologize… but: Thanks to the job market and the economy, my husband and I have lived in different states since 2009. While he is able to get home most weekends (not all), I still miss that daily us-ness, the innocuous-seeming conversations and remarks and sharing that are part of a couple's life together. The feeling of that specific physical person just being in the same house. The little sounds, scents, that are peculiarly That Man's. We probably have another five years of living this way before we retire and are able to cohabit again, and I can't even think about those years ahead… If I try to imagine them, I stumble and despair. I'm just freakin' lonely a lot of the time — in a much less severe and traumatic and final way than you, Julia, but I do recognize bits of my own situation in yours, and can empathize.


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