There He Is, and Here I Am

I woke up this morning and felt alone. It felt like I was down a road, and he was left behind. I didn’t feel sad, but I felt so solitary.

When the rat guy “saw” Geoffrey but didn’t catch him, I went upstairs and sat on a stool that I’m giving away to the thrift shop. I was gobsmacked. The rat was right! there! Why didn’t he get it?! I stayed there while rat guy did his things downstairs. He stopped by to chat on the way out. I did not get off the stool. I felt like a damsel in distress, as the hero moves on to the next emergency, pleading to him to stay and help. Why isn’t he catching this rat? Because they don’t catch rats; they poison them. Why hasn’t it worked yet? It’s been so long! Inside, I was wailing, Please! Please don’t go yet! but in real life I was perched on a stool, engaged in a q & a about the vagaries of professional pest control.

But he left, and I did what I’ve been doing, which is to live my life with a rat in the wall.

The pain periodically hits like a wave. It mounts, it scrapes everything out from my insides, leaving me hollow, then it bangs at the side of my head. At lunchtime, I found myself waking. I must have just slept once the wave hit today. It’s such a merciful way to get through it.

Daughter seemed a little off tonight. I thought she was mad at me for the “weird” way I drop her off early and pick her up late, avoiding as many parents and pick-up traffic as possible. But, no, just before bed she unfurled a monologue of everything that’s wrong with her new school year. She remembers preschool, when she could go home for lunch (with her dad, natch, left unsaid). She gets tired at school now and remembers there was naptime in kindergarten, and she would doze right off, because she didn’t have anything in her brain then. Now she has all these thoughts. I caught my breath. What does she think about? Horses, mostly. She wills herself to dream about horses, and she wonders how she can own a horse.

Did she want to sleep with me tonight? You bet she did. We snuggled up, heads touching, and I willed all her sadness to come into me. I would take it all from her if I could. She fell asleep. Tears streamed down my cheeks (but quietly). Then I heard a dog bark. Could the rat be roaming this early?

This damn rat pulls out my grief and hands it to me. It pulls and pulls, making me feel the unraveling, viscerally.

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