This is one of those weeks.
It’s one of those weeks when I don’t know how I can possibly come up with a post, because something bad happened and I don’t have the words, or the will to find the words, that will make a neat and tidy story of it.
A friend died in a tragic hit and run accident. He was walking, someone hit him with their car, and left,
just like that.
I found out about this on Saturday morning, when I was standing in line at MineCon with my sons. We had checked into a hotel the night before, meeting up with dear friends who live far away, set for a weekend of fun that they had been excited about for months.
I opted not to tell the kids when I found out.
There wasn’t anything to be done, and plenty of time for grief, ahead. Might as well let them have a day and a half of believing the world is built on solid ground and can’t change in an instant, the way we know it can,
to complete shit.
Besides, I needed time to figure out exactly what I wanted to say to them. What I had in mind didn’t seem quite right. What I had in mind was something like,
“Hey kids, I sort of forgot to tell you, between bugging you about table manners and the wet towels on the floor, that life, this whole experience that we’re all having, really doesn’t make any sense at all. Blink, and the whole thing looks different. Good luck.”
But I kept quiet.
So, we went to MineCon and I spent most of it with my nose buried in my phone, texting and trolling FaceBook, as a way of feeling connected to the people I love, who love Rob. Accidents like he suffered take a while to compute, and I needed to get it through my thick skull, what had happened.
I ended up with this:
The guy who loved my Grammie’s brownies, who sang my name every time we said hello, who helped direct my son in all those musicals, who played piano and wrote songs and stayed open and goofy in the face of so many challenges, who appreciated my boys and told me exactly why, who has a wife and daughter who absolutely adore him— that guy is gone from planet Earth.
Because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Just leave it, I thought. Like rain on clay soil, eventually, it would sink in.
At the end of the weekend, I told my boys about Rob, and after talking and hugging for a moment, we drove the freeway home, my thirteen year old staring out the window in silence.
My husband was waiting for us when we got home, happy to see us.
Then, when I went to get my bag out of the car, I couldn’t find my keys.
I was holding myself together by the most delicate thread and, now, between the car and the kitchen, I had somehow lost my keys and, I thought, this might just be the thing that does me in.
You know those moments.
It seemed to me, at the time, that my husband didn’t understand,
or didn’t want to.
And maybe— I’m sure I saw it (well, pretty sure)— he sighed heavily.
Why would he sigh heavily, like he can’t believe I lost my keys. Like I’m the first person to ever lose her keys! I thought to myself. Why, at a moment when I, so clearly, am hurting?
And just like that, I am curled on my bed, crying the scrunched up face of crying that feels painful and also delicious.
Why couldn’t C understand how completely on edge I was, after holding in so much and then telling the painful news to our boys? Why had he looked annoyed that I couldn’t find my keys?
I shut the door, hoping my boys wouldn’t come in, and I kept crying.
Like when a magician stuffs a handkerchief into his pocket, then pulls a different colored handkerchief out, connected to another, and another, more things that needed crying about showed up, asking for their due.
First, it was about C. and “why couldn’t he just…”,
and then because I was angry,
and then ashamed,
and then it was about how nothing is the way it should be,
and why are people so blind to each other’s pain,
and then finally,
(oh, there it was)
It was about Rob.
11 came in, his face wet because something wasn’t working the way he wanted it to on his computer, and he was exhausted and frustrated.
Before I asked him to please leave, to give Mom a minute, I remembered,
he had lost a friend too,
so we held hands for a while.
I know I’m supposed to wrap this up into some kind of story, right?
Well, apparently, if I’m a writer at all, I’m the kind of writer who can’t write about the really hard things, which, in my opinion, makes me like a chef who can’t turn on the stove.
All I’ve got is this:
Conditions are foggy here this week,
and since I can’t get where I’d planned to go,
I’ve cut the motor
to have a good long cry
about the situation.