(photo by Jake Cowen-Whitman with very small assist by me)
It is so quiet here today.
Ben is at camp.
Zachary is at camp.
Jake is here but being exceptionally low key today. I went and checked his forehead to be sure he didn’t have a fever.
The quiet is a little unnerving. I am reminded of the brief time we lived in Honeoye Falls, New York. After the kids would go to bed, Jeanine and I would sit in our enormous living room and hear nothing - no cars, no trains, no sirens. It felt lonely.
An occasional coyote howling didn’t help.
This quiet makes me sad. I am reminded of how miserable I felt when Jeanine had walked out the door. I kept looking down a long road of many nights alone, without the kids, without her.
It felt more than lonely. I have always been someone who loves to be by myself, but in that moment? I thought I had to find someone to date immediately because I wasn’t sure I could sit with that much quiet.
I know someone who after her spouse left her, went through a mental list of everyone she knew and picked one that she thought might be interesting to date. And did.
She couldn’t stand the quiet and yet, no matter what, it surrounds her all the time.
I thought it was crazy at the time. Now I understand. I was in the process of doing the same thing. Impulsive, yes, but better than facing the unbelievably painful silence.
I didn’t want to find something new. I wanted my family back.
Jeanine and I are working at coming back together in a way that gives new messages to all the old hurts. I’m being asked to stretch in a way that requires patience and calm. She needs me not to come out fighting all the time.
In an instant, I feel backed into a corner and have my hands up, ready to defend myself. It’s a primitive response developed for good reason.
It’s how I survived.
She’s asking me to trust on a level I’ve never trusted before- on the heels of her leaving. I’m not sure I can.
I’m terrified not to.
All the horns and train whistles in the world won’t fill the silence I fear.