|Dublin Waking (M.A. Reilly, 2009)|
Rob's asleep and as I continue to hold his hand, I feel his grasp slacken slightly. I study the too thin veins in his hand--veins that have long ago collapsed as if they might offer me some code, some secret knowledge, some Gilead balm. I am memorizing each blue line--mostly rivers run wild--with my finger wanting this partial knowledge of his body to hold me in good stead for when his body is no longer mine to hold. I trace each cruel bruise left behind from a litany of needles and IV lines, and feel the adhesive left after the bandages have been removed.
There is something for me to learn here, I know. What it is, remains beneath the skin and I am so very tired, so very much alone. Leaving is so hard, but this is the way it is. Against so much uncertainty, the understanding that we are all mortal remains a constant.
That and well, love.
The middle of the night is the worse as I am 35 minutes away from Rob. Most nights I lie awake in the bed we have shared for so many years and text him, hoping he is awake too and will answer.
He no longer does.
Even after these last six months, I realize that I sleep only on my side of the bed, while his remains untouched. In the darkness, it's hard to stay in the here and now. My mind drifts--conjures what might be.
I call the nurse's station just to check about what can hardly be spoken aloud.
And the kindness of the nurse undoes me and I sleep.
I rise early to find a text message from Rob: r u awake? Such joy to find his message. I check and see that Dev is sound asleep in his room, Rob's mom in another and downstairs a friend, more sister than not, sleeps too. Today is Valentine's Day and Rob and I have a breakfast date.
Superhighways here in the northeast at near dawn are more ghostway than highway. Even now, the promise of daylight lightens the darkness and the smooth cadence of tires on asphalt soothes.
I so want to bring him home.
I so want for him to know the deep rest that only home can bring.