i can't get around the fact that he's gone forever. i keep hoping he'll call. i don't know if it helps or hurts that i'm in a place where he never was. we have no history here together. nothing is familiar. i think i'm evolving into a hermit.
i feel out of step with the passing of time. i can't find his memory here and i'm out of place. not only is he not here with me, but i know he's never coming to join me. i've surrounded myself with my things, my little shrines in different places around this small place, so that whatever little area i'm working in, i see pictures of him, of my children, of the places i used to walk through with him.
i can't make sense of him leaving like that so i'm trying to make sense of what he left behind. the tangible things are here. his clothes, his shoes, his medals, some of his military stuff. i sleep with his Marine Corps sleeping bag, called a bivy bag. it doesn't really smell like him anymore, but it bears the marks of his having been in it. it has some blood stains on it and a bullet hole. a close call, he said and though he smiled, it was rueful and didn't touch his eyes. knowing the story, i can only hold that bag closer and be thankful i got him for the time i did.
i am left with his stories. his life was filled with wild and incredible adventures. such calculated risks he had to take with no idea how it would actually play out, how he would get home, only knowing that he would serve his country with honor, and no one would ever know. but me. he told me. and i'll keep his secrets. but i have them. and that means i have a part of him that no one else ever did. i took his guilt, his anguish, and his horror of war and helped him find a place of reconciliation within himself. he knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that i was in awe of him, what he endured, and that i truly believe he is a hero. he'd never come close to thinking anyone would see him as such.
i do have the knowledge of that. that and the fact that i could embarrass him. i adored his face, his body, the way he walked, his smile, his hands. to me he was such a beautiful man. i loved his scars, his muscles, and his laugh. he has the most wonderful laugh. but he would blush and look at me with patient frustration. he never saw himself as handsome. but he knew i thought of him that way. he knew i adored him. he'd try to sleep and i'd be looking at him, watching him in the darkness of the room, and he'd know. he'd purse his lips and say he had no idea what i saw, but that he was glad i had found something in him good. then i would kiss his face, his eyes, and stroke his beard, his hair, soothing him, lulling him to a sleep without nightmares.
and he would be there for me, for when my nightmares would come.
but he's not going to come back. i'm alone with these sleepless nightmares. everything is so screwed up. i can't sleep and i am so tired during the day. naps. that's what i do. i take short naps. 30 minutes here. an hour and a half there. one night i'll get maybe three hours at a stretch and then the next, maybe 45 minutes.
so i hold his sleeping bag close and play with the ties. i read or get up and sew.
i asked a woman from the widow's group how long before she stopped crying every day. and was i losing it because i still cry every single day. she told me i was normal, that i was going through hell right now. she told me i was too alone here. she told me i was a bit of a worry because of my unique aloneness. but it's odd that in the weeks right after i moved here, i wanted to find a friend. the passing of the last six or seven days, through mother's day weekend, has found me not so worried about it. i'm not sure why.
i just feel myself withdrawing deeper and deeper into a hermetic life. i have my sewing commissions. i want to get more. i'm trying to stay hopeful that others will see the work i'm doing for this woman and hire me. i'm falling into a routine of not speaking unless my daughter or son calls. i talk in my head to my husband, but not out loud anymore. i talk to my dogs so i'm not completely silent. but if i need food or fresh library books, i can do it all without speaking to anyone. all of it without saying a word.
the real truth has finally dawned on me in all this accumulated silence. "it's not for us to know."