“I just read your -” and then some ruckus kicked up by the boy in the other room took her away.
I know she was going to say that she read my post yesterday (just like she’ll read this one. Hello, sweetie), and I’m a little glad she was taken away before I had to be embarrassed about it. It has always been like this: Shamefaced before anything emotional. My dad unfriended me on Facebook, on purpose, and I know I will never ask him why. If I did, we would shift and squirm, and maybe even grow hostile because we shouldn’t be having this conversation that we knew would just make us burn with the discomfort of having to confront it. Let the gesture exist, and then forget it as it slides into the past. If I don’t ask him, we can smile and go on and eventually die feeling good about the minimal level of conflict we stirred up between us over the decades. As if simply not arguing was the same thing as “getting on famously,” or however they used to say it. Is there even an expression for that anymore, or have we just decided to let the vernacular die, right along with the feeling?
I should let her know what it means to me. But it’s like the perfect gift scenario I mentioned before – Nothing really is. There is supposed to be some connection between you and the gift and her, a connection that says more clearly than anything that you understand her and know her and it is in the expression of those things that the earnestness of your gratitude lies. It is how she knows you mean it. I should know how to do that. You say “I love you” every single day, so why would saying it again be any more special? You say “thank you” every single day, too, and all you know about that is that there will be little significance in it until the day you don’t say it. I should let her know. But I don’t know if I can. I’ll face the winter on a cold, wet step outside, the dog looking askance at me because the ice and the dark is no place for the damaged. And as my breath comes out like a rejected wish, I will pick up what I can and hope that just as the lack of argument stands surrogate for cooperation in one part of my life, also the absence of empty gestures may signify the fullness of my appreciation for her companionship through every part of it.
I should write something like this, and leave it out here. Leave it here to be picked up with everything that pours out from an exasperated sigh in the light from the kitchen window.
Though warm within and cold without,
It is easy to forget about
The discomfort we’re supposed to know,
And on our brazen way we go.