Tuesday, July 19, 2005

It hurts so bad

Today was not a good day. I woke up in a funk at 10:00, two hours later than I planned to get out of bed. Why was I so slow to rise? Try being alone in a dark, creaky house at night while your significant other is out of town, lying in bed on the second floor while raccoons the size of polo ponies scuttle across the roof. Every sound jerked me back into wakefulness, and I managed to look out the window just in time to see a police car roll by with its silent flashers whirling. Consequently, it was well after 3am before I fell asleep.

My workout took forever -- possibly because I have a Frankenfoot -- and the house was a mess. I spent over an hour watering the fricking plants so they wouldn't perish in this unanticipated stretch of warm weather. I returned "Million Dollar Baby" to the video store and found out it was due two days earlier.

Finally, I got home and decided to let Ndugu out for a stroll. He must have eaten something bad or have been bitten/stung, because I brought him in two hours later, set him down...and his back legs were useless. Completely useless, splayed out behind him and scrabbling at nothing. His breathing was agitated and he looked very uncomfortable. I was trying to rub some sensation back into his legs when he started to make a choking noise. Now, seriously. What the heck do you do with a choking tortoise? Shake him? Pound on his shell? All I could do was put him in my lap and rub his throat when he wasn't trying to pull back into his shell. I was scared sh--less. Finally, he started calming down -- but he's been under close observation all night, and now I'm paranoid about letting him go outside.

Despite all this, I still couldn't understand the bone-weary lethargy I'd been feeling. I couldn't study anything today; every time I tried, I just stared at the page without comprehending the difference between por and para. At sunset, I went for a walk to clear my head. I had Bright Eyes on the Ipod, and I was walking down towards the water listening to "I'm Wide Awake It's Morning" (have I mentioned how obssessed I am with this singer/songwriter? You must go out and purchase this album now, then listen to it at least five times, which is when the lyrics begin to wash over you until they're as much a part of your day as breathing). When "Old Soul Song (For the New World Order)" came on, my chest tightened. By the time "and when I get so lonely I can't speak" tore from his throat, I knew exactly what was wrong.

These three days are a precursor to my new reality, when I'm not going to wake up next to Coalescent Boy each morning, when I won't pull up on my bike and glimpse him through the front window. My new lifelines will be the phone and the internet -- and my calendar, dutifully counting down the days between visits. I know I'll adjust -- I have to, or else I'll never move off the couch -- but right now I'm too tired to even think. It's the worst thing I've felt in a long time, a pain so raw and ragged that it yawns a little wider every time I feel his absence. Which is ALL the time. There's a sob stuck somewhere below my throat, but I can't find the tears to remove it. So it sits, reminding me of its presence by welling up as I type.

Since January, I knew this was coming. I felt it looming beyond the horizon as the days grew longer; now, they're waning and I feel its presence just over my shoulder. I should have prepared a little better, but I didn't know how. For now, all I have are my walks and my music, which I will play over and over again until the words soak into my bones. I don't want to think about tomorrow yet. Today's enough, for awhile.

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