Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Missing what you got

Woke to an emptiness today.

Sue stayed on the Cape last night, and while the evenings used to be hard (evening vs. the night, when the day is dead and ghosts and demons stalk the world) the evening was easy. It had been a long hard day at work, and the quiet of the apartment was soothing. And it's so easy to fall on old habits. Walk in, crack a beer, pick up a guitar, sit on the floor and start strumming. Soon Bob plops down near me with a harumph, and we just sit together. I swear I'm going to take care of my health, but I end up eating a few cookies, a slice of cheese, a piece of leftover chicken, and then some leftover salad. Once you look at it, it's not a bad meal overall, just not all at one sitting.

It's waking to emptiness that's hard. And I had that sudden jolt of what life would be like without Sue. Waking every morning like that. And, to paraphrase Kathryn Hepburn in On Golden Pond when she told Henry Fonda that she visualized him laying in his casket and he asked what it was like, she said, not good.

I woke and lied there for awhile, and because I hate feeling sorry for myself I just pushed myself out of bed. The animals followed me. Bob, surprisingly. He used to just lay in bed until I called him for his breakfast, but now that Sue and I moved in together he's back to getting up with everyone else. I guess he's afraid he'll miss something. Maybe we'll move again and not tell him. The kids' cat follows me around, but after a week of him pushing between my legs and getting kicked, he keeps a distance until his dish is filled, then he eats.

There's just no substituting for a person you love. No matter how much you try to fill up the emptiness, it just doesn't work. I put on a CD, the Dixie Chicks, and Lu starts singing. Sue loves that little bird, and so does Bob. Maybe Bob realizes how much Lu means to Sue, so he gives her special attention, because Bob loves Sue so much. Don't ever underestimate the feelings of an animal. And I never thought I'd be saying it, but it's the cutest thing to see Lu hopping around with Bob following her around like a big, slobbering Balou the bear. He has a tough little swaggering friend who likes him; you can see it.

Lu. Now we have a guitar and a bird named after Lucinda Williams, and I can't believe how Sue has taken to Lucinda. And how Lu has taken to country music. Sorry, darling, I say to Sue, I don't mean to corrupt the critters, but I think you have a hillbilly bird on your hands. I know, you expect them to grow up one way, but darnit if they just don't do what they want anyways.

I knew I wanted Sue when way back she left for awhile and just like this morning I saw what life would be without her. I didn't need her. I could survive. Lord knows I had survived enough. But I wanted her. Life would be a whole lot better with her. And there was that night I made that infamous phone call, asking, could you just tell me how long it is you don't want to talk to me so I can pace myself? I guess it was the mixture of arrogance and desperation and how I was just downright pathetic that instead of getting mad she just busted out laughing, and I knew she was doubled over the way she does when she's really laughing. Some other woman would have let her pride get in the way, her temper, but Sue and I knew we liked each other so what was the point of fighting or letting our egos get in the way? Life's too short.

It would have been so nice if we had met and I had shown up at her door on our first date with roses and candy. Been all starry-eyed. Though when I first laid eyes on her I turned around real fast so she wouldn't see me with my mouth hanging open. A mutual friend for the longest time kept telling both of us about the other one, and at the time neither of us was interested. But once I met her I could see there was something there. There definitely was something there.

But it wasn't like the movies at first. Once you think about it, who would want that anyway? The start of things are never that smooth. People have to work things out, especially when you're our age and you've lived a life or two in that time. I'm divorced with two kids and she's never been married or had kids. She's lived all over the world, and I've been pretty much tied to this area because of family. I've been flat on my back a time or two, and Sue doesn't know too much about something like that. It's just knowing what you want and recognizing who the other person is, what kind of person they are, and just working towards what you want is what people should do. It really isn't that hard when you think about it.

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