Sunday, June 24, 2007

Homebird, sing

It is Friday afternoon, just past rush hour, and I am loitering by the bus stop with an elderly woman who's taken refuge beside me to avoid the herds of disaffected youth roving between transit centers. She is talking to me about her husband, who passed four years ago: how she cared for him every day until he died, how she's doing the same for a friend now. She is waiting for that friend's daughter to arrive from Bend so they can go back to her friend's apartment and pack a lifetime into cardboard boxes.

I am waiting for him, and I'm a tumbling mess of emotions. Excited to see him, anxious we won't feel the same, frustrated it's had to come to three weeks of sanctuary between six-month storms. Afraid that things changed, that somehow what we had slipped through our fingers before we tightened our grip. Over these months, I've felt my heart stiffen to ward off the pain. It's easier to pretend he isn't there at all than to acknowledge how far apart we are.

The bus arrives, and I break off the conversation I've only half-followed. Shadowy figures rise behind the tinted windows, all remarkably similar except for the fourth one. Suddenly, I'm sure I'll cry in the street.

And then, he is off the bus and in my arms, and I don't know if the elderly woman found her friend's sister, or whether the teenage hordes scoffed at our awkward embrace, encompassing backpack and purse and six months of separation. We pause and hold each other at arm's length, like we can't quite believe this is happening. And though soon there will be difficult conversations and (too brief) awkward resumptions of life together, for now, we just stand and stare, as the dam I've been building swells and bursts.

I find myself still doing that now, watching him when he sleeps or when he's at the computer. Like everything in life is new again.


Anonymous said...


I can totally identify with how you feel. The pangs of doubt meeting the first time after months, its agonizing. But it passes, gets better. :)

Anonymous said...

Enjoy your time with CB - I wish the two of you much happiness during this little interlude together :)

~ Your Stanford Bud