wake early on Friday. I feel alive. You love me. You said so without my saying it first. You called me to tell you loved me. If I recognize that my thoughts have begun racing, I do not make note of it. I make you a CD. I haven’t made you on in a while. I still think that these CDs we make are as close to our hearts as we can give each other.
I call the therapist that Erin referred me to. Judi answers on the fourth ring. She sounds rushed. She says that she can’t see me for an initial session until two Fridays from now. Will you be OK until then?, she asks. I tell her I’ll be fine.
I bring the CD to the park near where you work, and I tape it to the new bench I wrote the Amanda Palmer lyric on two days earlier.
I’ve left you a pick-me-up.
Something to remind you to have chaste, non-flirty fun at your birthday event and to encourage you to find rabbit time this weekend.
I tell Eryn, my best friend at work, that you and I are talking, and that you have told me you love me.
What does Holly think?
I haven’t told her.
You’re not thinking, Will, she says.
I tell Eryn that I want to try. No more lies, I say. He knows everything, and he still loves me. I think we can get past everything.
He’s still a drug addict, she says.
I know, I say. I think he will change, I say.
You can’t change someone in order to make a relationship work. You’re only fooling yourself if you think you can do that. He’s an addict. He will always be an addict. Do you want an addict raising Avery and Aurora?
I love him, I say.
Listen to yourself. There are other men in the world you can love, she says. You can do better than a drug addict. You deserve better than a drug addict. The fact that you even have to say he’s going to have to stop using drugs in order for your relationship to work is ridiculous. He’s a drug addict. And she says it loudly, and I know she’s right. I know you’re a drug addict, and I doubt you will ever change, but I love you and I think you’re meant for me and I think you’re worth the risk. I think we’re worth the risk.
I go online to Amazon and I find a sailboat charm. The charm is not expensive, and there is enough room on it to engrave our initials. I am starting to feel manic. I know I am starting to feel manic.
I finish the day at work, and I go home. I decide I can’t text you again. I do not want you thinking I’m checking up on your or that I’m not OK with you having a life outside of me. I’m OK with it because I’m no longer a habit. You have picked me, even if we’re not officially back together. You said it yourself. No title, no Facebook status, nothing changes who we are when we’re together. Put us together; see how you feel. You said it.
Holly and I watch Valentine’s Day. At the end of the movie, several couples realize the inherent truth in the idea of for better and for worse. Things break, but love can put everything together again, or so I tell myself. I text you video clips from the film.
I wake up at 3 a.m. My body remembers 3 a.m. You have not responded to the video clips.
Are you OK?
I love you, and I’m OK.
I sit up and pull the blanket tighter around me.
I know you’re it. My it. Us. You, me, Holly, Avery, and Aurora. We can and will get there.
Because I don’t want to be crying for no reason.
I’m yours. You’re mine, rabbit. Cry. I love you.
I love you too. That’s the first time you’ve typed Aurora’s name.
I suppose that’s very true.
There’s a lot to work out. But, I feel OK about a lot more now. Night all of my rabbits.
I know there’s still work to do. I’ve just worried that when one of us dated/slept with someone, we’d have to change, and I wasn’t convinced we’d get it back. I love you, too.
It never went away. You already know that.
Feelings aren’t logical.
And what is logic?
Logic is what you said: Repeating past mistakes expecting different results. Insanity.
I don’t know how this plays out. You finish what you have to.
And I think, what if our finish line is actually 57 years from now. And I’m still crying, and I want to ask you if I can come over and hold you and inhale and see if you smell like yourself again.
I want you to know it’s there. But, did you not know that the other night?
I know that when we’re together, we interact as a couple in love, and when we’re with Avery, we interact like a family.
We limit our reactions to each other. Aside from that – I need sleep.
We don’t need words to communicate. Avery wants you to push and you’re holding a bag and without saying anything I let go of the stroller and you hand me the bag and you start to push and it all happens seamlessly.
Love. I will see you when I see you.
I noticed it too at the same time. Sleep. Night.
I haven’t in?
Let’s hope I do.
You owe me a ring. I want/need to be tied to you in that sense. Not sure about the timing. Just a side thought.
I may have bought you a boat of sorts, I text. But I’m wearing it first.
I want to write the word MARRY on the palm of one hand and the word ME on the palm of my other hand, drive to your apartment, call you when I am downstairs, and ask you to come down for a minute. I would be on one knee, and you would be standing there, and I would draw the W ring on your left ring finger and I would hold up my hands. I think you would say yes because I would be using both hands to propose.
Sail away, sail away, sail away. You’re my guitar hero. Also, Holly and I get coffee together without you. Decaf.
To bond and begin plotting to overthrow me. I’m sure that will be fine.
No, we clearly both love you.
It will be a torch passing. Here’s what I’ve learned in 12 years; good luck figuring out the rest.
You probably can’t even comprehend.
Maybe not. If you want it, then we’ll figure it out.
I meant that we both still love you.
You’re my number one best decision for me and my kids.
Night, my rabbit.
Night and really just a PS: You haven’t smelled like you when we’ve hugged. Or maybe I wasn’t close enough to inhale. I will next time.
* * * * *
William Henderson has written for local and national newspapers and magazines, including the Advocate; the Boston Globe; and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Journalism & Communications from the University of Florida, and a Master’s in Fine Arts from Emerson College, where he studied creative non-fiction. He earned a Hearst Award in profile writing in 1998, and various awards from the Washington Press Association, Florida Press Association, and the New England Press Association. Currently, he is a freelance writer, editor, and copyeditor, and a full-time father to his children, Avery and Aurora. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and through his blog, Henderson House of Cards.
His other Snake-Oil contributions are here.