Sunday, 2 February 2014
No. 57: Saying "Goodbye"
The ache normally begins a couple of days before the looming date of his departure. It normally kicks-off with an emptiness in my stomach and food soon starts to taste like paper. I nod and smile and try to be engaged with all around me but it is only half-hearted. All too soon it is time. I gather the girls and we make the long drive to the airport with me trying to make light of things by half-threatening to lose my way to the terminal or offering to steal his passport so he cannot make his flight. But he sees through my ‘comic’ routine and we work on consoling our youngest who is understandably heartbroken again. Prolonged hugs intermingle with whispered endearments and wishes for safe travels is our dance as I breathe him in one last time. This has become our routine of late – saying goodbye.
Lingering at the gate until he goes through immigration only brings the promise of more tears so I force a smile and concentrate on cheering up the girls as we pull away from the airport, giving them the usual “we can get through anything if we stick together and remember to be kinder to each other during this time” talk. The tête-à-tête is normally followed by a trip to their favorite restaurant for a sushi fix, a spot of CD shopping, followed by a visit to the library. By the time we walk through the door back to the now painfully quiet house a few hours later, my heart feels like a stone has taken up residence as we ‘get on’ with ‘everyday’ life. On the Jambox, even John Mayer is singing my blues as “come back to me” replaces the normal chatter and giggle from a few hours earlier; and what was once a clear blue sky is now dark and cloudy, reflecting my headspace. But I cannot afford to be so self-indulgent with this looming depression and tell myself to get a hold of myself – I need to set a positive example for the girls.
We have been doing this ‘dance’ for six months now and not only do I know the routine all too well, but am also familiar with the key: distraction by means of a busy schedule is a welcome albeit temporary ‘band-aid’ to our ‘malady’. Alas my head is an expert but my heart is very much a novice still. But I soldier on, opening up my diary to see how I can distract the girls, and myself, in the coming weeks. I am filled with guilt as I realise it is a mere three weeks before I get to see Matt but nearly 8 before the girls get their reunion! I make a mental note to make plans for the next seven weekends for them, quietly grateful for their otherwise busy schedules during the week.
Sleep does not come easily whenever Matt is away as I go from falling asleep (and STAYING in the land of nod!) at a drop of the hat to becoming a night owl; putting off going to bed – all of which does not abode well for my 5am starts. Interestingly, it is always these stretches of Matt’s absence which also see Paige becoming a troubled sleeper who more often than not, ends up in my bed normally around the 1am mark. Argh. The first night is always the worst. I am now bright-eyed and bushy-tailed at the ungodly hour of half four in the morning, having been up for over 2 hours already. Sigh. It is going to be a long day and although my day is only just beginning, I am already looking forward to my bed tonight. Hopefully a peaceful slumber awaits. 19 sleeps to go before I can say “hello” – so much better than saying “goodbye”.
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