Monday, June 28, 2010

Come Back: I'm Not Ready

So this is what it is like to be an empty nester.

My children are jetting over the Atlantic right now, en route to Rome for eleven days. Those eleven days are sandwiched between two travel days. That makes 13 days, in case you are wondering and don't want to do the math. I have never liked the number 13.

I ponder the roar of the air conditioning unit outside. Nothing stirs inside, except my busy little fingers, click-clicking on the keyboard. The sky glows an ugly tan. . .then turns gray.

Why doesn't someone turn on some lights in here?

OK. I feel really creepy. I am going to go out and gather eggs and hope I feel well enough when I return to finish this post.

10 MINUTES LATER

I don't feel any better, but I think I should focus on writing because the alternative is worse. I hear the air compressor in the garage, and now that the air conditioner has cycled off, the cicadas. I check the clock.

I need cheerful music! And maybe a large mirror in the corner above me so I can see if some bad person is silently creep-creeping up behind me. Well, I could see him if someone would just turn on a light.

Little prickles tingle the back of my neck.

I check the clock again. It's only three minutes since the last time I checked. That means it is still Monday. This has to be the longest day ever! I dropped Nathaniel and Emma off at the airport at 7 a.m., but we texted back and forth whenever they weren't in the air to Newark where they would catch their flight to Rome. I talked to them a couple of times too after they arrived there.

This barren loneliness didn't set in until 5:30 when their Rome flight took off and I received two last texts from Emma, the same message repeated twice like a sad echo, "Love you!" "Love you!"

There is a strange pressure in my throat, and it is getting hard to breathe. It's making my eyes water. "Love you, too!" I whisper through my constricted throat.

No more cell phone messages or calls til they return to the U.S. I feel a pulling sensation on one side of my chest. I know what it is. My heart is being tugged out of my chest as they move farther away from me, across the dark sea.

I swing around quickly and check for bad guys creeping up on me. And check the clock. I wish it were time to go to bed and that I could sleep until it is time to pick them up at the airport again. My eyes water some more.

The sky is now black.

4 comments:

Emily G. said...

Oh, dear. I hope your husband comforts you. I get that creepy, there's-going-to-be-someone-behind-me feeling sometimes at night. The hourish time between 11 and 12 or 12:30 when Anthony gets home is veeeery slow for me some nights.

I'm excited for Nathaniel and Emma, though. Their trip sounds wonderful. I hope you post some of their photos.

Wendy Haught said...

Dear Emily,

I can't wait to see the pictures. I just hope that Nathaniel and Emma will supply plenty of words to go with them!

Tom said...

well I can't say I would really know.... cause I have never been a parent with their children on another continent, and I have not been a GrandFather but... I have also not been a 17th century Rationalist so as I was saying.....

I don't think being you will be so lonely ,when they both go off and "fly the nest" cause then you will have phone calls, conversation, plus grandchildren; and in this circumstance you don't have all of those....(I hope....) so it seems your sorrow will be not as great then as it is now!! :D I hope that is some comfort to your loneliness.... :D!

Wendy Haught said...

Tom,

Thank you for your words of comfort. You are right about the phone calls and conversation and grandchildren. It would help but only if they live close by. I don't have any assurance of that.