I'm trying. Not sure. Feedback?
"How much longer can this heat continue?" I ask as I climb behind the wheel. Of course no one answers me. Once I leave work and head home there is seldom anyone there. Tonight should not be any different.
Over two years now. Two years, three weeks and two days. I can give you the hours, minutes and seconds if you would like, but of course it doesn't mean anything to you. To you or anyone else for that matter.
Two years, three weeks and two days since I lost her. Cancer. Such an ugly word, but far uglier is the pain it brings, and leaves. Caryn was lucky I suppose. It came, it claimed her and took her so quickly. Almost before we knew what we were dealing with she was gone.
It left me.
The day she died I broke. Something inside me just quit working. I don't know exactly how to explain it. A broken heart? Well yes that is part of it, but it was (is) much more than that. Part of me broke that I never knew could be broken. Part of me broke that I don't think can ever be repaired... even if I wanted that..
Today is only different from the last many days, because of the heat. Actually that does not separate it from recent days. I curse under my breath as my hand melts to the wheel. And since today is no different than any day in recent memory I fight back the tears that blur my vision. I think of my loss, how what I once had that brought such overwhelming joy, I struggle to hold it together...at least until I get home.
Once there Barnie (the Bichon Frise Caryn loved so much) will greet me in the door. Could it possibly be a look of disappointment on that dog's face that its me and not Caryn at the door? Could I blame him?
The pity party pauses when my cell phone goes off. Another reminder of Caryn. Her favorite song was Dan Fogelberg's "Run for the Roses". Its still my ring tone. I haven't to moved on.
The phone -- my sister-in-law Lynn. I answer before it rolls over.
"Hey you" she says, always so cheerful. "Can you do me a favor?".
"Sure, I don't have any plans."
Can you pick up Chris and his friend and take them up to the school. They have debate practice and your brother is out of town and I'm running late as usual."
"So can I use Rob's car? I'm in Caryn's car."
Caryn had a yellow Sebring convertible. I know Lynn would like to comment, but she let's it slide.
"Keys on the fridge. Thanks a load." She's gone.
Well at least something to distract me for a while. Lynn has been my sister-in-law for 10 years or so now. I've know here for longer. She, my brother Rob and I ran around with the same group of friends back in junior high and forever after. Caryn came along later in college. Lynn's a great girl. I don't know if I would have survived this past two years (three weeks, two days) without her and Rob.
Chris is my nephew. Thirteen and a real geek. He is so like me he could be my son, if I had a son. We found the cancer when Caryn went in to find out why we couldn't get pregnant.
Anyhow Chris is a good kid. He reminds me of me.
I pull into the drive at Rob and Lynn's house, and go inside.
"Chris are you ready?" Of course he is. I grab the keys and we go out and climb in the mini-van.
We back out and I ask Chris where we are going. Instead of an address he just give me directions.
We make small talk for a bit. Then he gets quiet and asks "so are you ok?"
Damn it. Thirteen years old and he sees fucking straight through me. Is he that in tune to people, to life? Or am I that bad at hiding things? Both I decide.
I try to assure him everything is fine. We both know it is not. "You've been crying haven't you".
I don't, I can't do this now or I will lose it. I can't do that to him. He's thirteen he can't take the burden of my life on his shoulders. God knows his mom and dad have tried to save me that way.
So I ask who we are picking up.
"A friend" he blushes.
Aha a girl. Well good for him. I said Chris is a geek and I mean it. A girl is a huge step for him.
"So is this friend a girl" I ask?
"Well yeah, but its,well, you know, we're just like friends you see". His nervousness betrays him. She may be just a friend but he doesn't see her that way.
"Is she cute?".
"Her name is Rachel and we're in debate together. Tonight was mom's night to drive, but well you know that story."
He tells me to turn on the next street. Something oddly familiar.
"Third house there on the left".
OH MY GOD!
I have been here before. This street. That house. That porch.
My first kiss was standing on that porch, under that light.
My first date started in that living room.
My first love kindled by the beautiful (was she?) blonde that slept in that bedroom around back.
My first broken heart, right here in the drive-way, in my old beat-up cutlass.
But that was what? 23 years since graduation so at least that. I'm sure my heart is beating faster, can Chris tell?
Okay, Chris has no idea. He is in love sitting in the driveway where I was once in love. A lovely brunette comes out the door, well as lovely as a 13 year old geeky girl can be. Honestly she is pretty cute.
Chris pops out and holds the door for her. He climbs in back. Ah, dad has taught him well, or was it mom? Dad I bet. He and I learned those lessons well.
Casual conversation, nothing important as the kids talk. Her name is Rachel Bohannon. I think maybe she likes Chris as more than a friend listening to her.
My mind drifts. For the record two years, three works and two days, and its the first time a memory of a women other than Caryn comes back. Maybe the first time for any memory.
We pull up to the school and I mention to Rachel that I think I used to know someone who lived in that house. I don't think, I know. Some memories burn in forever.
"Nah, must be some other house" she says. "We just moved back here a few months ago, but mom grew up in that house. We moved back here after G'ma passed away".
The kids jump out and head inside. I am frozen. The car behind taps their horn bringing from my state. I head back to Rob and Lynn's to pick up Caryn's car.