This morning I woke and couldn't go back to sleep. There's something about the utter stillness of early morning, the fresh, untouched taste of the air and the peculiar slant of the light. It produced in me this sense of melancholy. The faint sound of traffic and the few crickets singing just enhanced it.
There is a breathless quality to these days, a kind of constant effervescence. It causes the melancholy to taste almost delicious. I am not afraid to feel longing for him, to give in to it completely, because it's so close to being satisfied.
I remembered the conversations I had had with Keith the night before, and I lay in bed savoring them for a long time before I got up.
"I do know one thing for certain."
"I don't want to drive my car all the way to the new post. I want to be in the truck with you."
"I know that. That's why I'm going to sell the trailer and get one to put the car on. You will be in the truck with me."
How did he know that? I'd been worried about that for a long time and here he was, already knowing and having made plans to take care of it.
"I wish I'd known you in high school..."
"You kitten...did I ever tell you I drove the biggest truck in high school?"
"No kidding! And I had (insert unintelligible vocabulary about technical details having to do with exhaust systems here) done and I would put it into first gear and..." At which point I space out and just listen to the sound of his voice and adore the enthusiasm, becauses I love that he is this kind of man even though I'll never understand a word he's saying.
When I listen to his voice over the phone, his face is a shifting conglomeration of memory and conjecture. The harder I try to bring him into focus the more it slips away. I think I remember the plane of his cheek, the play of expression across his features and then realize that I am bringing to mind only photographs, so familiar they have taken on a life of their own.
I look over my shoulder at the past year and it's like staring into the dark. I wonder how I could have made it through, the idea of going back there causes me to shudder with horror. Every once in a while I remember some fragment of routine or ritual that I needed at that point in the deployment, a certain song, the way I would dust even the table legs, how the neighborhood looked the first time I walked around it, in late September.
I am tired of the ritualized, monastic life I've been living; I want my irrepressible husband to come home and shatter the looking glass.
Tomorrow is Wednesday. Hopefully, (hopefully) there will be only two more Wednesdays before he is home. A girl can dream.
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