damn i miss you.
it's been 8 years now, and there are many days i don't. there are times i still think "i want to show perpa this!" but it's decreased to a wee blip of missing most days.
not today. (will the non-linear chaos of grief ever stop surprising me?)
today it's the kind of sting that makes me breathe a little slower, as if it's a true physical ache and shallower inhales will ease it. today, it stabs me with a fierce shock, the way a mountain lake ices warm skin like a seizure. i wish i could jump in my car and speed my way across the st john's... i call it the house that built me, you know from the miranda lambert song? i need it.
i need a forehead kiss. & your hug, smelling like outdoors & sunshine, wood dust & old spice; stability. i need a cup of coffee. the strong black brew with cream to make it "blonde & bitter" that i still can't get perfect, in my favorite mug. the mint green one with the handle that curves into my hand just right that grandma always keeps on the bottom shelf above the microwave (tucked into the back left corner so nobody else will use it). i need to sit next to you on the back porch, with the airplane models swaying in the breeze. it'll be warm, and the swamp will be alive with cicadas, frogs & the occasional splash of gators fishing. i need to listen to stories about life & air force & Nasa, loving grandma since tenth grade, the shenanigans you & richard pulled in that tiny upstate NY town. i can see it all in my head knowing my way around the streets like i do. i wan to ask about the things you don't tell us; the gyroscope you designed for bombers in the gulf war, the shuttle engineering, the soccer scholarship you gave up so you could get a job to provide for your younger siblings instead. i need your steadfastness, your unconditional love, your ridiculous sense of humor, the way you get restless and have to take the truck on an errand nobody but us finds necessary. i need to sight down your rifle. feel the weighted balance and my own capability as i come *this close* to matching your target hits. i need to hear you talk about the difference between violence & protecting yourself. the weight of responsibility a weapon brings; the difference between outside force vs. inner character. damn, i need to laugh. i need to make you laugh, watch your eyes crinkle as you throw your head back. i need to look at your hands, and think how i hope mine are the same when i'm old. capable, calloused, tough. but still gentle with kittens & grandma & dogs & grandkids who are throwing fits over dropped blueberries. i need you. how am i supposed to live un-tethered, without you? oh i know i've been doing just fine for a while now. you would say.
but today i'm worn thin, i'm hollow, i'm fragile. i desperately want the safety net of your kindness.
i need to tell you so much. i think you know i loved you fiercely. we had the same language for that. but i had no idea at 21 how much of who i am was from you. you saved me from believing all men are monsters. you were the first good man i really knew, the best kind of man. i can't find words for the powerful influence having you in my life created. you encouraged my intelligence and resiliency; fostered my independence & courage. your life gave me the values i still carry today. you made me believe i was both capable enough to take good care of myself; and valuable enough to be well cared for. your impact is immeasurable.
i'm sorry i wasn't there that day.
i'm sorry i went home after work instead of going straight to the hospital.
i'm sorry i left early the day before, but my heart was bleeding up my throat and i couldn't keep it from seeping out, so i left before you could see me cry.
i'm sorry i was too young to have the right words.
i'm sorry i was so angry at you for leaving for a year. i just couldn't bear the loss of you both so quickly, when my world was already on fire in a hell you didn't know about.
"i miss you. they say i'll be ok; but i'm not going to, ever, get over you."