This song is simply instrumental. -Jackson Killian
Jack left. The storm was over.
Despite bright blue skies Friday morning, inside was overcast. I didn't know if Quinn was reacting to me or if it was the other way around. He whined constantly. The kind of whine that sounded like he so much wished it would become a full-fledged crying fit, but it didn't.
He put Coldplay on the stereo, but he didn't dance. Instead, he carried toys out of his room, then back in. Then out again. Not playing with anything. Just carrying things around, looking morose.
He fussed and fought me when I tried to initiate a game, as if I was spoiling the production value of his drama.
He scolded Uma continuously until finally punishing the animal by flopping its boneless body down in the time out corner. The thing looked pathetic, probably echoing how we both felt; it's nondescript face turned to the wall.
For the first time, I wondered if Uma was a he or a she.
I asked Quinn. He looked at me with a perplexed expression and said, "Both," in a tone that sounded like when Bettie says, "Duh."
My patience was short, likely because I felt the same way—plagued by a bone deep dissatisfaction that nothing eased. I was uncomfortable in my skin, in my life, and I too drifted from room to room looking for something to do. Something to clean or organize, something to distract me from my discontent.
I found nothing, nothing that soothed.
I grabbed a romance novel I'd read before and perched myself on the arm of the couch. I just held it, staring blankly as Quinn turned on the TV and the DVD player.
He watched the TV for approximately eight minutes before wandering out of the room. I muted the TV and stared as sickeningly happy puppets danced across the screen under the cheeriest sun I'd ever seen.
I'd never been that happy. The sun had never been that bright. Fake, blinding glee.
I needed a hobby.
Like scrapbooking or cake-decorating, or something.
I put Quinn down early—unable to face an afternoon of mutual fretfulness—and to my relief he fell asleep with minimal coaxing. The black-out curtain was drawn, and the room was warm and shadowed, soft music whispering from his small iHome. Seeing him curled under his blanket, I had reassuring memories of my own childhood naptimes, the feeling of trust and safety making me ache for a way backwards.
But as some famous author once said, you can't go home again.
Because home is something that exists inside of you—an inward projection of yourself. When you long for home when you are home, it can only be that. A memory. That's all. A perception of life formed in inexperience and shaped by the biases of immaturity. Home was painted in feelings and emotions; those walls and furniture, appliances, tchotchkies—all made brighter and better by nostalgia.
Home. An impossible glow seeping out of your own soul. A melancholy yearning for what is gone.
It's just a slow arduous trek into the goddamn grave.
I could hear Jack, his voice impossibly smokier, scent crisper, body hotter, intimacy darker, and more comprehensive than it must actually be. Like yesterday, like home—the memory of him tempted me with its impossible sanctity.
But that was the thing about Jack. He held up to the nostalgia.
If anything, he dimmed in my remembrances of him.
YOU ARE READING
I'm still technically married. I still technically wear my wedding ring. It's on a chain around my neck. With his. He still won't sign the divorce papers. I still don't want him to.