I grow increasingly sentimental in my old age. On a run (I don’t like to run, but I like to move my body and I like to be outside) I realized I have an absurd amount of photos of the same path, the same sidewalks, the same stretch of beach. And now I think of desperate parting gestures – hugging trees and skinny dipping and leaving notes for the people with the lovely garden I appreciate on every walk.
It has been a long while since we’ve had to say goodbye, and never to a place we’ve known for so long. I’ve grown accustomed to the light, the way the shadows thin in winter with the leaves falling off the tree, the way Jack chased the branch shadows in the morning light in the kitchen, or the west light coming in at end of day nursing sessions. I’ve grown familiar to the circles of light through the blinds, how they softly illuminate Jeff’s shoulder and neck in the early, bleary morning. I know the way the moon peeks through an open corner of the blind at 2 a.m. as bright as daylight, rousing me.
I know some of these creaks, though new ones always sneak, alarming me in the middle of the night tiptoe trips to the kitchen for more water, a glimpse at stars, checking the chain on the back door.
This is to say nothing of the solace of the sound of the waves, the train through our east windows. This is to say nothing of the brief, beautiful walks from the car to the back door, always unexpectedly just what I need. I think even more than these walls I will miss what’s outside of them – the walks and runs down to the beach for a quick swim, the nights I find Jeff reading on the front stoop,
Now our voices echo off the bare walls. Now the creaks are even louder. Now I feel it, hollow. I would like to say (and perhaps I will, given time and kindness) “how full! how full our days!” and shake hands with former times with gratitude before turning my face forward.
But they come heaped up at once, the things I’ve taken for granted and now I’m realizing how much I will miss it.