My eyes are burning and my nasal passages have commenced lock down. If I didn’t know better, I’d start searching for hidden decomposition. But right now all I want to do is get in and out.
Without losing consciousness.
It’s moments like this that I miss my husband. It’s not that the other moments don’t matter, but there’s nothing like being slapped in the face to remind you that you are navigating on your own. And I’ve just been slapped in the face by something that resembles being in a room with my husband an hour after a hearty bowl of chili. A burrito. Spaghetti. Salad. An apple.
The man could turn water into a toxic substance.
Stepping across the dark threshold of his domain guided by quiet even breathing, it is painfully clear that dimples aren’t the only mark of my husband’s legacy. My little boy has been swallowed up by something big and smelly and ravenous.
For months, my vocabulary has been on limited play and replay. Lift the seat. Put it down. Was that you? I’m not asking again – pick up your clothes and put them in the laundry basket. He tugs and rearranges, explaining the importance of “unsticking” to someone who really doesn’t want to know. He spends hours in the bathroom, only to argue whether or not it’s really necessary to use soap. I’ve mastered the art of carrying soaked hockey gear pinched between thumb and forefinger, and I can no longer distinguish between an aquarium that needs cleaning and the air of the room he emerges from each morning.
Nearly eight years after he turned our world upside down my favorite moment of the day is still long after he falls asleep. Together we would tuck the tiny foot back under the covers and remove toy cars and noisy things from the folds of the blankets, whispering to each other about the little details that are magical to parents and mundane to those who are not. Alone, I tuck a foot no longer tiny back under the covers and remove books from the folds of the blankets. I kiss the forehead resting on the stuffed dog that has been his constant companion throughout the years and the tears.
And tomorrow morning the not-little smells will disappear when he wanders in bleary eyed and curls up in my arms.