Sunday, September 16, 2007

Dear CS:

I listened... bound by your spell... as you told me about standing atop the continental divide. I loved the words you used. The picture you painted. It was as if - if only for a moment - I saw it, too. It was as if your voice and the letters you strung together lifted me and sat me atop the divide, too. I asked you, before you said it was like being "in the eye of a storm", if it was like being in a donut hole. Of course I meant to say the hole of a donut. (A donut hole. Sheesh.) Makes me laugh now, how easily you hear the ridiculous things I say but how readily you understand me anyway.

The continental divide. It got me thinking. All Thursday night long. It got me thinking that - after all these years - it's almost as if I'm standing on our own continental divide. Of sorts. Here I am... all this mess and all this storm around us. Some of our own making. Some of it not. But here we are, you and I, in this chaotic calm, this holding place of waiting for storms to pass or rain to fall or skies to righten. Here we are... here where nothing can happen. Where the two can't meet. And I'm okay here for now. I'm content, I suppose, to wait in this place of nothingness while fronts collide and the fallout chooses a side. I'm fine with waiting here while we see how - and where - things run off to.

I found one of our crossword puzzles yesterday. Who knows exactly how old it is. Do you? I don't. I remember starting to throw out the paper... however many years ago... but pausing just before it hit the can. I remember unfolding it, smoothing it out on that 1960s' yellow, wobbly kitchen table, and cutting our puzzle out and tucking it inside a book. I wanted to remember the day.

And I did. It was the mention of meatloaf that made me remember. Caused the memory of that Sunday to come dancing back. You were watching TV and looking at the paper and I was trying to preheat the oven for a meatloaf I'd just mixed. "It's not heating," I think I said, and you stood, right away, and pulled open the door and tinkered until it did. I remember watching the back of your neck and your shoulders as you righted the oven, and stood. I remember the feel of your heroic hand as you rested it against my cheek before leaning in and kissing my forehead. I remember watching as, without a word, you walked back to the paper. I remember thinking, I love this man.

The meatloaf was fine. We ate it and sat, my back against your chest, for most of the afternoon. You called me "sunshine" as we did the dishes. Then we returned to the paper, playing at the crossword together before abandoning it. Did we get busy or bored? That I can't recall. I do remember leaning against you on that terrible old brown couch and thinking, this is the perfect day. This is exactly the sort of day I always wanted.

The crossword was cut out to remember it all - the meatloaf... your hand... that day. That sweet day. Later I had an idea that I would tuck the puzzle inside a card and someday we'd finish it. On our honeymoon, perhaps. Or our first official Sunday together. But it's still here. Unfinished, like we are. Unfinished, and here in the hole of a donut - in a chaotic calm - with storms all around.

13 DOWN. The clue for 13 DOWN is "questions". That Sunday you wrote asks. This Thursday you said, "The heart knows what it wants." Just like that. No questions or asking. The heart knows what it wants. Or who, I wanted to say. Or who.

Will you read this? I'm not sure. You will, probably, although it may take days. Weeks. That's okay. Not much we can do for now anyway. Nothing but meet words and wonder.

And talk. We can always talk. Even if it's just about the weather this side of the continental divide. Your words evaporate once they reach me, anyhow, leaving my ears heavy with the sound of ... you. Did I ever tell you? Not certain I ever did. I meant to tell you Thursday amid all the questions and asking and... nothing. I meant to tell you this then but I'll tell you this now: the sound of your voice is the drug of my choice.

I miss you.