I walked around all day yesterday with that damn circle drawn around that date on my calendar in my head. The deadline.
The deadline. Bullet point. Like a Target logo. Radiating daily in my direction. Making me warm.
You've been gone now for so long. I don't remember the sound of your voice. My dreams of you are are silent. I look at your face and stare. I know not to try to touch you because the raw emotion of that attempt will bring me back to here and now. To us.
I've received letter after letter. I know I have no choice but to go today.
Every day since you've been gone I've listened to your last message on our voicemail every day at least once.
"I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to take out the trash. Don't forget to mail the contract to Jeff. Call you when I get there. I love you."
I love you.
You love me.
You loved me.
I love you.
The cab is here. It's time. I have to do this one last thing that proves you're never coming home to me again. No one knows. I could have sent someone but I can't. I couldn't.
We're in traffic. I'm right up on that last nerve. The one that always breaks me. The one that always breaks me.
I haven't been to this airport in a long time. It has been so long since I've flown. Before.
Long term parking, row G, 117.
That's where your car is. Where you left it.
According to the letter.
We drive into the parking lot and I don't want to ride in the cab anymore.
"Please...let me out here." I clip, clip, clip.
He stops. The meter stops.
I give him $60.
"Would you like a receipt?" he asks.
"No thank you." I whisper.
I step out of the car. The heat is settling in my chest. The force of it all filling me. My legs becoming heavy as I walk. One foot in front of the other.
Row G. Row G. Row G. Row G. Row G. Row G.
I remember the day we bought your car. You'd never had a brand new car before. I told you how you deserved it. You told me you didn't know.
I made you sign the papers.
Cuz without me...you wouldn't have.
I see it.
There is your car.
The car I expected you to return home in.
But you didn't. You couldn't.
I wonder if you would be angry because you never let me drive your car. Even as I know your practical side would overcome your anger. You're probably watching me. Aching for me as I press the button to open the car door. As I sit in your seat. As I gingerly touch the steering wheel. As I realize my feet can't reach the gas and brake because you were 6'3" and I am only 5'5".
You hated to see me in pain.
The last hands that touched this wheel were yours.
I don't understand how it is I can hurt so bad just sitting here. The slight smell of your cologne still here. I close my eyes and inhale.
The radio is on NPR.
If you were here now, you'd move my hair from my eyes gently with your fingertip behind my ear. You'd say something funny and put your hand on the back of my neck. You'd talk about nothing as I adjust the seat. As I adjust the mirrors from the positions you had them set.
So I could drive home.
I close my eyes as I strap in safely. Lovingly as if it were your touch. The last time.
I back out of the spot and I drive off following the EXIT signs. I pull up to the parking attendant and hand her my letter.
She reads it. Looks at me with sadness in her eyes. The arm lifts slowly and I look straight ahead. Put my foot on the gas...and drive away. Into the sunshine. Into a day as organically beautiful as 9/11 was.
I drive home.
To a home you'll never return to.
But one your car will.