June 21, 2009


A stray cat decided to be my friend. I hate cats, but when it curled up a couple steps below me, I didn't have the heart (or the energy) to shoo it away. I'm sitting outside on my steps with a beer and a pack of cigarettes, looking slightly like a degenerate minus the laptop...maybe a New Yorker or Paris degenerate, trying to smoke and type. I think about how lovely fireflies look at dusk, and how Andy and Sky will be back before they disappear for the year. The next door neighbor is standing in the alleyway behind the house, talking with a passing runner about the recent tornado and Illinois weather in general. I glance at the garden with little signposts signifying tomatoes, onions. I wonder if things grow here.

I don't know exactly what I'm writing about now. It was mostly a good day-hours of talks with both boys. I went to see a good movie again but couldn't quite get that release from laughter that I needed. I chewed my lip on the way home and thought about things. I've been thinking about things ever since he told me.

The briefing in Salem went well. Standing on the concrete slab in front of the army, it felt like I'd just been there a few weeks before. I imagined the guys walking past me and smiled about Perez being one of them. When we sat in the classroom with no air conditioning and listened to army wives and other soldiers talk about their return, I noticed everyone paying attention, hanging on every word for some detail they might have missed. We all are homesick at home. And when they described the way the boys will come through the back of the gym while we hear a speech, and how we'll be reunited a few minutes later when they all come in together, I got choked up. I hate crying, especially crying for happiness, and I know the guys hate it, too. I really hope I can bite my lip and do nothing but smile and exhale in relief.

But now, a twist to the story, before he's made it out of Qalat even-he may have his kids with him full time. He's so open about everything one hundred percent of the time that I suppose I need to get this off my chest. I hesitated to comment on this for several reasons, but I have to admit that though I'd be thrilled he would get to take back some of that lost time with his family, I feel utterly clueless as to what to do. The thing is, I can babysit as well as the next girl, but I wonder about how to do everything right. What do I 'childproof' in the apartment, for example? What do I say or not say? I suppose I struggle with knowing what to do since this is so new to me. I have a strong suspicion I will adore those kids, and though I'm not a parent figure, I'd still be present. I feel like Sky and I sharing this house means we're a team-sure, he's team captain, but there's a role for me too, somewhere. I just don't know what it is.

I can easily picture walks to the school playground, pulling Radio Flyers behind us, trips for ice cream, sprawled around the room for a bedtime story. Life does not turn out like the negative prints in my head, I've found. Maybe they hate wagon rides, ice cream, and Winnie-the-Pooh. Maybe they'll hate the stupid grilled cheese sandwiches or macaroni I'd attempt. There isn't a name for the roll I'd have, but whatever it is, I want to be a good one. It's too important to not be.

From my stoop, I can see the neighbor's large, faded map of the United States. Don't they realize there is so much more out there? In just a few days, he'll be leaving that room and my brother, and start the series of planes rides, waiting, and more waiting. He has a long way to go, but pretty soon it will all be back to our idea of normal, which could mean lots of change before we settle in to life. I know I'll figure it out, and I know we'll be happy. Tonight, then, I will concentrate on the moment they will open the doors, and how I'll want nothing more than his arms around me. Everything else will get better after that. Love just works that way.

Life is not as simple as a boy with a girl
Sitting on porch steps with hearts racing
Smiling in contrasts of blacks and whites
Love has more depth
Love makes less sense
I’ll be your nonsense if you let me

0 kind comments from you:

Post a Comment