...and not necessarily in that order.
Filled with an irrepressible longing, this morning I made my way to Barnes and Noble to purchase Pat Conroy's "The Great Santini." I read it years and years ago and lately simply needed to read it again.
So I have been upstairs on the bed reading my brand new copy for the past couple of hours. I had to put it down every couple of minutes, it felt like, as longing for Keith swept over me. I've learned it's better to respect such moments by acknowledging them and then moving on, than trying to resist.
It seems to me that over the past month, the tough rind that protected me through out much of the deployment has thinned down into mere skin; my own skin. I feel alive to each sensation of missing him and needing him.
When Keith is home, there is this feeling of living with an alien creature or a large, semi domesticated animal. I miss the thrill of that, the thrill of not knowing what he might do next, of knowing that he's not quite tame, but all mine.
He always moves with this air of bracing freedom and I must yield to it, because there's no way to resist it. He will do what he wishes and he will say exactly what he thinks and he won't sugar coat it, and so I find myself completely relaxed. Well, eventually I get there.
I learned this best when we were in Indiana and his female relatives looked at me like, "Aren't you going to say something, curb him?" And I knew then that I would have to release myself from his actions, let him go and be at peace with it.
Though I have tempered him, actually. Last night he was joking about getting a second wife, like some cultures allow and I told him not on his life, which made him made him laugh his delightful, deep and rumbling laughter.
"Never mind that," he said suddenly. "I couldn't take two of you; it'd be way too narrow."
"Whaddya mean by that?" I asked, suspicious. That did not sound like a compliment to me.
"Well, just one of you has got me on the straight and narrow," he confessed. "I don't even wanna think about what two of you would do."
"Humph," I replied. "On second thought, I could do with a second me, I could tell her, "You go; it's your turn to go talk him down." And then suddenly the deliciousness of that option hit me, and I laughed.
"Woman!" he protested, "That's not funny! You stop laughing! Woman...!"
I remember so clearly lying upstairs on the bed, waiting to see his truck come down the street and pull into the drive way, and wondering, almost nervous, what he would be bringing home from work with him. Would he be alive with frustration, or heavy with anger, or bright with satisfaction?
I would brace myself for the sweep of energy that he would bring in the front door with him, striding through the house in his boots, bellowing out for me, sorting through the mail, and rummaging around in the fridge. As soon as he was home my anxiety would dissipate and I found myself slipping effortlessly from one climate to another, no matter what his mood.
"You marry a man for life, but not for lunch," I remember reading in a novel and being struck by the statement, more because of its cleverness than because I had any idea of what she was talking about.
But now I think I do. I must have the house to myself for the long, quiet stretch of mid day, to prepare and renew. I feel the lack of it on weekends, when we've both been sharing the same space for two days straight. Because of this, Monday is a clear and cool relief and Monday afternoon, when he came home, a renewed felicity.
(Isn't that a pretty word, felicity? Why is it that some words become old fashioned, while others live on, bright like a penny? Why did felicity happen to fall by the wayside?)
Well, I must return to devouring my novel and missing Keith ferociously. (There are some strong appetites in this house at the moment; no wonder I made myself a huge, steaming pot of spaghetti! It doesn't quite compensate, obviously...sigh.)
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