It’s obvious, isn’t it? The place where your treasure is, is the place you will most want to be, and end up being.
This post brings us up to 39,179 words.
Friday, July 20, 11:09 am
Things have started getting kind of weird in my head. Time takes on a different dimension in this kind of situation: It has texture, warp and woof, I can feel the fabric sliding by, silky, smooth, and inexorable. Minutes become days, or days minutes; I have no reference, and in a way time becomes meaningless and yet the most important thing in my world. I sleep, I wake, I’m thirsty, I’m hungry, and I desperately long to know what time it is, almost with the intensity of those other physical urges. I have no realistic estimate of how long I’ve spent here, but a conservative estimate would probably come in at just between two and three millennia. After a while, it’s hard to tell when I’m awake or asleep, or if I’ve discovered some new in-between state where even wakefulness isn’t overly meaningful.
I have a conversation with Jean. We sit in our living room, on the white leather furniture I so desperately wanted, and that she insisted would be folly with two teenage kids who are sure to spill pop and crumbs all over it. I won, but she was right; the furniture has turned into a major headache to keep clean.
Afternoon sun streams through the two-story-tall windows, imparting the entire scene with a brilliance rarely seen in this grey climate. A breeze ripples through the leafy green trees that surround our home, and out the windows I can see the perfectly clean patio with its teak furniture, and, beyond, our lawn sloping away towards the expensively landscaped creek area down by the back fence.
I’m drinking a Mac & Jack’s. Jean’s glass of conspicuously non-alcoholic lemonade sweats onto one of the coasters we brought back from Mexico a couple years ago. I’ve been watching her condemnatory glances at my icy-non-coastered bottle sitting sweating directly onto the wood of our $2,000 handmade-in-Washington artisan coffee table. Feet, shod or unshod, and drinks without coasters are strictly forbidden on the coffee table.
Jean looks beautiful, vibrant. Not young – those days are past for both of us – but lovely in a timeless way that makes my heart ache. She always looks beautiful, I realize now; she takes care to try to look attractive for me, and most of the time I just brush by her on my way out the door without seeing. This time I particularly notice, though, because I have this sense of immediacy and urgency that makes all the details of her appearance stand out in sharp relief. Her hair shines in the sun, auburn highlights picked out brilliantly; her summery dress accentuates her still-slender, fit body. Her gaze is clear, direct, unafraid, steady. She is far too good for me, and I am overwhelmed with shame at how I have treated this marvelous, talented woman.
There is something pressing that I have to tell her, but I can’t. Instead, my longing heart is trapped inside a body that keeps doing things to aggravate her, like the beer on the coffee table. Why am I doing that? Reach out yourhand and get a coaster, dammit! But I don’t, I can’t, I’m a prisoner looking through my eyes, suffering through my own terrible behavior.
I want to apologize to her for all my years as an absentee father and husband. I want to apologize for going off on “business trips” and coming home smelling like another woman’s perfume. I want to beg her forgiveness, to fall on my knees and swear on ten Bibles that I have my priorities straight, now and forever. I will come home for family dinner every night. I will attend the kids’ school and sports events – god, I don’t even know what extracurriculars they do these days. My best memory is of Mackenzie in gymnastics at age six. I will stay faithful to Jean forever, truly, no other woman could begin to compare to this radiant vision I see illuminated in the afternoon sun. God, how could I have thought Sharon was anything other than the grasping, dumpy social climber she is? I will listen to Jean, really listen. I will pay attention to what she cares about, and I will care about it.
I want to tell her that I love her, and beg, please, please, let me earn your love again. I have changed. Continue reading “NaNoWriMo: Day 17”