I picture his little girl at school wondering what has happened to her vibrant, handsome dad.
I picture his older daughter making her way through her flour dusted restaurant kitchen, heart aching as she is about to lose another parent, too soon, too soon.
I picture his phone, laying dead amongst his belongings. On his dresser at home, or maybe his bedside table. The sheets are all in a jumble, the bed has not been made for weeks. The table top is dusty, evidence that no one has looked at it in days and days. His watch, some change, a business card with rubbed and curled edges, a bottle cap are also there. Nothing too important, just the detritus of a pocket in a pair of pants once worn around town.
The phone’s answering service says it’s full, no more room in the memory bank. The texts pile up, undelivered or delivered, it makes no difference if no one is reading them. His email account also is stacking up with unanswered emails from people wondering what happened to this man
Who used to sit across from them in a cozy office. Beautiful paintings on the wall, a soft throw on the back of the sofa. A hand-hewn coffee table with a speckled gray granite top against the wall behind him. He made that table with his own hands. Shelves line the west side, covered in baskets and boxes of little toys and trinkets, all set out neatly for play and processing in the sand tray nearby. I used to wonder if he dusted everything off frequently, if anyone ever played with them any more. I never did. Did my kids, when they were in there with him?
Where has he gone? Where is he? What are we to do when this man who has held our hands through some very tough times is suddenly gone. Poof. Not available, no sign of life. What are we to do with no answers, no definitives, no closure?
I see him everywhere. I can’t tell you how many tall, handsome men I’ve seen in the past few weeks who look just like him, remind me of him, hurt my heart with their close cropped hair, strong cheekbones, and lean frames. I wake in the night, every night and he is there in my head. I worry about him lying in the hospital bed, or worse, as dust in an urn. I worry that my last time connecting with him was a brief text about Ben, a few months ago. I worry that we have lost such a lovely soul.
And if he comes back, oh I’ll be mad. How dare you leave us like that? How dare you just be silent when I was so concerned. But boy, will this be fodder for the therapist’s couch. Where I go with my worries. Where I go with silence and no answers. I wish, I wish we could have that session. But god, I really don’t think we ever will.