I cannot sleep. It's 12:56. I've been in the soaking rain all day, driving for half the day. I go out to the truck and swipe some pieces of napkin from the glove compartment, swiftly stuffing them into my ears, hoping they block out the howling and excitement of the dogs. New smells, new dogs, ready to run, to greet each other and the morning rain tomorrow. I am not, however. I cannot sleep.
As I stuff the tiny bits of napkin in my ears, I remember that memory of him - probably my first clearest memory. Seeing that loud, obnoxious punk band (what a first date!) and fetching tiny bits of toilet paper from the bathroom for his sensitive ears. I stuffed them into his ears that night gingerly, as if offering a special trinket to a new lover. Who knew how true that would become.
I have loved him. I have been loyal through the good and the bad. So much bad. And when I am away from him, I miss him.
But so often anymore, I miss him when I am with him too.
The rain still falls on my hat, my hair, a steady-falling, cold rain. A U.P. rain.
We are at a crossroad. And I'm so tired of being at this crossroad. We need to pick a direction and move forward. I'm so tired.
I lay down on my pillow and listen to the rain fall on the canvas roof of the camper. I snuggle down deep into my sleeping bag. My nose is cold. Nine weeks ago I lay in a hospital room in the greatest pain of my life, unable to conceive of ever living this life again. And here I am.
I am thankful. I close my eyes, thinking of the way he smiled at me back then, and I listen to the rain.