You know how when you have a sore in your mouth and you can’t keep your tongue away from it, as if your brain needs to confirm something like “yup, it still hurts”, as if you are a sucker for punishment? Well, that is what I am feeling today. Except it’s not a sore in my mouth, it’s my heart and it is hurting.
Aimee came to visit. Daughter number one. Tucked inside her bag next to her socks and underwear she packed her inspiring view of the world, her intention to be the best version of herself, her wonderful laugh, her delicious sense of humour, her easy-to-be-with nature, and Linden, her twenty-month-old son. For two weeks I had them in my house where I could make her a delicious cup of coffee every morning except the coffee was only delicious about one-third of the time, okay maybe two days out of fourteen. I could wake up at night and feel her presence across the hall and I smiled in every cell of my body, even when Linden was fairly certain he wasn’t in the mood for sleep and wanted to be sure everyone was aware of his position on the matter.
She has gone. Aimee and Linden went home yesterday. They flew across this ridiculously large country of ours, back to Vancouver and I am left with this empty house. I stand at the door to their bedroom and I stare. I wander off and before long I am back at the door staring again. I want to throw open the closet doors and check under the bed as if I might find them and they haven’t really gone at all, but alas the truth is all too clear.
The cats are glad they have gone. I came home from the airport yesterday to find Casey and Finnegan sprawled out on the furniture looking drunk with pleasure. Linden has a big voice. At twenty months one needs a big voice to get the required attention of those around him. He was happy to see the cats and was friendly but his version of friendly wasn’t quite what the cats had signed on for. “HI CAT” at the top of Linden’s voice seemed to startle the felines and they ran for cover and stayed there until they were sure he was gone. So now they are celebrating. They are back sitting in the sink when I’m not looking. They are back scratching the furniture and they look pleased as if they have won some kind of battle, some competition that says they prevailed over the little boy with the very big voice.
Gracie is sad and quiet. She hasn’t moved from her bed this morning. She did her walk and relieved herself but that’s it. She isn’t interested in life right now without Linden. They became friends despite Linden flinging her dog kibble down the stairs and around the mud room on a regular basis. She did her best to clean up after him but this morning she left the scattered kibble and ate only from her dish. I think she likes the evidence of Linden having been here. I do, too.
I’m sad; sad in a way that I know will pass because this is what happens when children grow up and build lives of their own, but so sad in this moment that it hurts to breathe. Aimee will know what I am feeling when Linden comes to visit and inevitably goes home. But for now I will stand at the doorway of her bedroom and I will hold on to the single little sock that was left behind, a little sock that belongs on a little foot. And I will be glad they came and let me fuss over them and I will wish they didn’t have to go.