i never watched you in the kitchen before. usually i was right by your side, doing whatever. i wish i had taken a step back, like working on a painting, and seen you there- the big picture. What i would give
Calvin came home from school, you watched him get off the bus.He wasn't happy with himself, he had a pout on his face. He came in and threw a stack of papers on the kitchen island while you washed an apple for him. Before he could run off too far you called him back, and looked through the papers. He got a D on an a paper he wrote for class. It was weird, him writing papers in second grade- well, they were cute and he loved reading them to us. This one was different.
You pulled him up on to the stool by the island- god, when did he get so heavy- his blond hair caught your cheek, it was warm. You wrapped your arms around him and looked over his paper, you asked him to read it out loud. After he pouted, he obliged. As you sliced his apple he read the title "daddy's pictures". You chuckled, cause Calvin never called them "paintings"- why is that? He read his paper about how daddy likes to paint pictures of people and things and use lots of color and puts them all over the house. But he gets sad when they go away. If only he knew it was to pay for what he had- one day he'll know. The note from the teacher was mostly about Cal being off topic- and he was- but you couldn't scold him. Like always, you told him to do better next time.
While Cal was reading, the phone rang- your hands were sticky from the apple and didn't want to cut off Cal. So it went to voice mail. By the time Cal was done eating and kicking off his shoes everywhere you forgot about it. That's how it happens sometimes. You checked your cell to see if i had texted- i hadn't.
You took Cal for a walk down the street to a park. We usually do this together, but i wasn't home. Cal was calling for you to walk faster, but you were distracted- looking around- worried. You heard sirens in the distance- naturally you texted to see if i was coming home soon.
When i didn't respond for a little bit you took Cal home. He was so angry, he wanted to swing on the swingset and go down the slide at least once. You told him not today- and he hung his head, near tears all the way home. Something didn't feel right, so you picked up pace. by the time you were at the yard you were practically running. You came in and slammed the door- Cal went up to his room and you went to the kitchen. You poured yourself some water and leaned against the cabinet. Our home was so warm. You could tell real people with real lives and real love lived here. You were happy this morning, i woke you up early to tell you i love you, before i went to work. I usually let you sleep.
The phone rang. You picked it up and it was your sister. You two talked, caught up- she's coming to visit for a week- when you saw the message light flash. You forgot all about the call earlier. You wrapped up with her and pressed the check voice mail button when Cal screamed from up stairs. You don't even remember how you got up there, or how fast- it was a blur and then you were hovering over Cal in the bathroom with blood on his cheek. He cut himself with my razor. He wanted to shave like daddy. How do you punish him for such a cute thing? You cleaned him up and put a band aid on it. You two went down stairs and he turned on the tv. The sun was setting.
You tried calling me as you checked the messages on the phone. I didn't pick up- straight to voice mail. The monotone voice on the message machine droned through the date and time and then-
This is Officer Williams with the Rhode Island Police Department. We are at on the scene of major collision on the interstate. Your husbands driver's license was found in the car- he is still being extricated from the vehicle and unrecognizable. We are sending an officer to your address for further assistance. Please be in contact as soon as possible. Thank you.
Nothing went on for five minutes as the message buzzed out. The sun set and you still stared at the phone. Cal came behind you and asked where I was. You fell to the ground and held your chest to breath. It came sporadically and it scared Cal. He started crying, calling for you- mommy. Tears flooded your eyes- you tried whiping them away, to no avail. I wasn't coming home tonight, ever. Your face gaped- the air just wouldn't fill your lungs. you leaned forward, your face touched the floor as you gasped for the air, the wood was cool on your cheek. The hot tears puddled around you. Cal ran to the front door, trying to open it. You got to your knees and crawled to the living room- reaching for your cell to call someone. anyone. to beg for this not to happen. The front door clicked. Cal fell backward.
I came in, confused by Cal on the floor and you draped over the sofa, hysterical. I dropped my things and ran to you. I held you tight and asked what the matter was. You were speechless- just as confused as I. You finally reached around me and grabbed me. As you felt the heat beneath my clothes, the stubble of my cheek on your neck, you clutched me harder. A loud scream came from you as you realized i actually was here- not unrecognizable on the interstate. Cal got up and ran over to grab our legs. I held your head and rocked us all, soothing you. We stayed there untill you could talk.
I thought you were dead- you said. I had no response. I had no idea what that meant. I went and picked up the flowers i had gotten you for being home so late. You laid on the couch- lifeless- staring at me, disbelieving. Cal came and cuddled up beside you. I checked the messages and heard Office Williams explain. I turned to look at you and realized what had happened. I teared up, choked them back with little success and ran to you. We layed on the couch till the next morning.
My friend from work took me out for lunch and i left my wallet in his car. I'm always forgetting my wallet. On his way home he was involved in a multi-vehicle wreck on the interstate eastbound. This happened while i was finishing a project at the studio. As i came up the yard i picked flowers from the garden to present to you- for forgiveness. If only i had known.
Our lives changed that day. We never looked at each other the same. The petty love we felt before, the cute day-to-day stuff was gone. We realized first hand we couldn't live without each other. That love is the deepest we knew. deeper than self preservation. Our family grew and didn't stop. I only wish i could tell you at the end of every breath i love you. In case an Officer has to tell us it's over one day.