The Space Between

There is a space between February and March where a wife disappears and a widow emerges, and so it is a hazard of this week, to be preoccupied by death, the memory of it, the way it shapes the lives around it.

I take my son out for dinner to the first restaurant my husband and I brought him to after he was born. The booth seats were wide enough for the car seat carrier that I placed next to me, the small baby kicking his hands and feet as he stared up at me. Now five, the boy is still that energetic, sliding over the seat, bouncing up and down, sitting first on his knees and then not. The same dark hair now as then. The same watchful face. We draw pictures of people on the back of the placemats, and I don’t tell him that we are there because I am thinking about his father or that this is the week of his death. We don’t talk about his father much at all. Instead, we order a dessert platter just for the two of us, enough leftovers for the whole week. Because I know that this week I will cry, but at least it’ll be with cake.

There’ll be cake, and flowers I buy myself, and a date with a man I don’t know well enough to love, and maybe that is one of the reasons I like him. Because there is a space between widow and the woman I once was, a space between her and the woman I am becoming. And whatever I am now, whether some days happy, whether some days not, it is someone who knows all too well how hard it is to love a person and have them leave. Whether the leaving is their choice, like some, or whether it is not.  If they leave and could come back but don’t. If they leave and would come back, but can’t.

When my son and I leave the restaurant it is still light out, but the light is fading. For a time both moon and sun hold space in the sky. The horizon on one side of me is mostly a pale blue, streaked sparsely with clouds. The other is a brilliant pink threaded through with a blue more like velvet, the cloud line rippling, the colors intense.

My car drives on black asphalt in the middle of these two skies. It is as if I am bisecting them, casting them into parts, as if I am halving them, as if I piloting the car down the central line of the earth.

As if it was the world that had split and not me, as if it was not my heart left behind.

Not me, occupying the space between.


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