I’m at the beach so of course I miss her more. Our time together down here yields such precious memories. The two of us moved to the beach for sixth grade. Her brothers were gone by then and we decided we would see what winter was like without five feet of snow. We found out! Winter had lots of cold, wet wind. It was only better because we were together. Every Friday night we watched a movie. Nine times out of ten it was Pirates of the Caribbean. We were both HUGE Johnny Depp fans-especially her. Together we painted a picture of him standing on the mast of his ship sinking down to the dock. She wrote him a love letter and we went to the post office, rolling up the painting and letter into a mailing tube. Then we sent it to him. We never heard anything back but it didn’t diminish our Friday night viewings or our love.
Kind of like how her being on the other side of the world doesn’t stop my love now. I was walking in the woods with her Father last week and he looked at me and said, “Imagine, Wilton is half way around the world, upside down, walking around just like we are. Isn’t that amazing?”
Her 20th birthday was two days after she left. She wanted to be in Bangkok with her friends turning twenty on another continent. I thought that was a pretty good idea. Don’t you? For heaven sakes, she spent the first nineteen birthdays with us not to mention that we shared the day of her birth. Sort of hard to do that by yourself we said and laughed together. She didn’t want a party. Birthday parties are big in our family and I kept pressing her to have a few friends over but she decided to go out just with us-”parents and brother, nobody else. I’m tired of talking about it. I’m tired of folks asking if I’m excited, if I’m packed.” Then on Tuesday, the day before she departs, she texts me at work. “Is it OK if I have Sarah, Taylor, Bill, Tammy and Louise for supper?” When I ask, “Tonight?” “Yes,” she texts back. “We’d love it but you’ll have to buy the groceries and bake the cake,” I text back.
That night, I’m making salad for nine and I turned to her and said, “Did you buy a charger for your Nuck? I mean Knock? Mercy, I mean Nook?” “Yes, Mom, you already asked me four or five times.” “Well” I said, “I had to get over focused on something, it might as well be the Knock.” Then I looked at her girlfriends and exclaimed, “See, don’t I look happy, composed and competent standing here cutting tomatoes and slicing onions. I look normal but I can’t even say ‘Nook!” And they just looked at me with love and curiosity. One having just returned from Jordan, another from Egypt and others heading out to Chile and Turkey respectively. They knew how I felt because they had done it to their parents too. Made their love for each other split wide so they couldn’t speak English anymore. Love spinning around on itself and coming back on them so their tongue wasn’t connected to their brain. The neurons tearing apart so they could process the leave taking. Making room for the shift that had to happen so they could be bigger and better when they reunited.