nothing’s so bad

One of my employees’ mother died on Monday, so I am covering his night shift this week. This slow swing to the eventide, ramping up before supper and slowing down at midnight, makes me wistful. I sense what is missing from my life.

I miss my hand held in another’s. An idea of being held onto is exactly what I have let go.

I miss that breathless thrill right before a kiss, eyes from eyes to lips to eyes. I have not looked presciently at lips for so long.

I miss watching someone approach and wondering if we will hug, or kiss, or just stop and say, “hi,” with a sort of headtilt, casual hand slung in pocket, half-reaching out, half-holding back.

I miss not knowing exactly where it’s all going to go. I miss not knowing and not caring, because it’s all going somewhere good.

I miss hands on thighs, hands at napes, hands through hair. I miss learning how someone else’s car smells when I slide into it. I miss guessing at someone’s favorite drink and always being wrong, then memorizing what it is so I won’t ever be wrong again.

I miss being someone to miss. I miss “I just got here and wanted to let you know I’m okay” phone calls. I miss feeling riotously sexy in a new outfit and getting That Look – indicating that I have indeed achieved the intended effect.

I miss whole hearts, unrushed kisses, happy tears, relieved exhales. I miss having wonderful, ridiculous in-jokes, and saying things like, “you and me against the world, babe.” And meaning it.

God, I miss meaning it. I miss meaning. Meaning what is said. Meaning something to someone.

Tonight I will go outside and it will be the perfect Marin temperature, a silken 60 degrees, with tiny leaves underfoot. I won’t see them or the deer that lurk at the edges of the floodlight, nibbling on dark blue grass, but I will know they’re there. The stars overhead will twinkle, perfect and distant, and I’ll drive away, and nothing’s so bad I can’t handle it. Drive through it; drive through the pain. That’s what you taught me – what you all taught me. Nothing’s so bad.

It is a welcomed ache, this missing, familiar and plain and steady. Nothing’s so bad. Drive through it.

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I acknowledge that I live and work on stolen Cowlitz, Clackamas, Atfalati, and Kalapuya land.
I give respect and reverence to those who came before me.