O. is away, visiting his grandparents across an ocean and a continent. All my recent journal entries begin with the count of how many mornings O. has been away. This morning was the fifth.
After dropping O. off at the airport last week, I spent the evening at a friend's house. Returning home, I opened the door to a dark and chilled house. One rabbit sat blinking in a corner, the other woke up and demanded dinner. A full trashcan waited to be emptied. Over the back of O.'s usual chair was draped his heavy white sweatshirt. I felt like crying when I saw it there. Heartbreak, in his blue towel, his pajama pants lying on the bed, his toothbrush: ripples still wrinkling the lake's mirror-surface, when the stone that sent them has long since sunk out of reach. The pillow was the worst.
Towel in the hamper, clothes in the closet, toothbrush in the medicine cabinet. O.'s pillow off the bed and mine positioned in the center, as if this were a bed meant for one. A bed that, when I lie in it alone, is full, not half-empty. I pretend. I pray.
I talk to O. on Skype (miracle of the internet!). Voice only because for whatever reason the webcams are not working. Closing my eyes I imagine him there on the couch with me, his weight bowing the cushions and unbalancing me so that I can't help but lean against him.
My dear sister came down for the weekend and we were a complete set, the two of us, as we always were in our childhood. But this too is pretend because we are not children living in the same house and sharing a room anymore. On Monday morning she went back to her life, and I stayed here with my half-life.
I don't really mean that. This is not half-living, this is full living: with friends, with books, with sunlight and rabbits and fresh biscuits, with learning and moving, with purpose, with joy. And I am grateful for this time of silence and stillness. This is not half-life but life in a different, and familiar, shape. Still, it is life without O.
Thirteen more mornings.