this is for you

I locked into you this morning before first light, your back to me, your knees bent. Slipped into the hollow your body created and once again, marveled at the fitting.

All night, a cold rain fell. A cold dampness settles in on our skin.

It is the fear one thinks about, returns to. Through the weekend. Through the errands and the busy things. I think most about the fear. Those children.

We sit at tables with our friends. We laugh. We tell our stories. You stand there, gesturing with your hands. A well-timed remark and the table erupts in a kind of quiet admiration. You are so many things. I am still discovering you.

I drive into work thinking of you. How already you are so far away. How we spend our days in other states. Is this what we thought it would be?

Dreary morning. Dreary sky. I sit in a room overlooking the bay – dreary now, too. Presentations are made. Notes are taken. We applaud. We chatter politely, nibble at muffins. A handful of grapes. A paper cup of juice.

After tragedy, how we long for a return to normalcy.

How stultifying normalcy can be.

Driving back, the long gray roadways. The sadness of banners hung on shop windows, shouting. Banner after vinyl banner. Past the strip club. The trash heaps. The flat gray buildings. Broken chain link fences.

All the detritus of the way we live now.

Scaffolding draped in plastic. Everything that is being built and everything that is being torn down. The noise of it.

Building, rebuilding a kind of relentless optimism. Despite overwhelming evidence, the mounting arguments that can be made against optimism.

How weary I am today. How weary and how sleepless.

You are at your desk. You are standing in the hallway, talking. Your arms folded across your chest. You are wearing a brown shirt. Your eyes are blue except when they are gray. Except when they are green. You are your father’s son. Your hands like his. You too, now father. Father to son.

Speak to me through this gray, dreary day. Raise your voice across the distance. Against the din of the vinyl banners and the worn shop signs and the blinking street lights and the noise of machines. Against scaffolding and cold rain.

The silence terrifies. In the silence, we can hear our fragile hearts beating. In silence, we are reminded that we carry our own ends with us, embedded in our bodies. As a peach holds its pit.

Our bodies nestled in first light and later, in last. It is not, perhaps what we thought it would be. Except when it is.