Killing Spiders

Today I am sad. Raw from the loss and brutality of the marathon bombings, pushed to the limit of missing my husband, stretched thin, nearly transparent in my defenses.

I try to maintain the energy I need to get through without him. Sturdy, strong, stiff-upper-lip, do the best you can with what you’ve got, don’t worry, you’ll be together again soon, you can see him tonight on video chat, it’s really not too different from when he’s here, working 60 hour weeks. You don’t see him much those days anyway. But it’s been too long. It’s been too long without him around me, physically, emotionally.

Days like yesterday make me yearn for the protection of his presence, the strength he gives me just by being unmovable, unstoppable. He is–and always has been–the strongest person I know. He pulses strength quietly. Sometimes, not so quietly.

my very own hero.

When we first got together as adults, after all of those years when I did everything by myself, for myself and my kids, it was a struggle for me to *let* him do things for me. Carrying bags, opening doors, cooking, cleaning, supporting the household, taking care of the kids. Having done all of that without him in the face of the difficult circumstances I inhabited was a badge of honor, and I wanted him to see that I was strong too. That I was capable, that I didn’t need him. I just wanted him. It was an important distinction to me, because he is, at heart, a knight in shining armor. He had a history of rescuing the damsels in distress, and I was determined to not be another victim in need of rescue. I didn’t need him, I wanted him.

After a few years, I got comfortable with sharing the load. Some days, I was too comfortable, letting him do everything because he was so willing to jump in. I know now what a mistake that was, getting comfortable in my laziness. Realizing my error, I balanced out the effort, although I still call to him when I need a jar opened or a spider killed. With my piano hands, there are few jars I can’t open. Spiders, my constant companions outdoors, don’t bother me at all, but I call him anyway, my knight, my protector.

I can do it, I know I can. I know I can manage the next few months without him nearby to infuse me with his intensity. I’ve done it before, under more difficult circumstances. And at the end of this road, a much better reward awaits than I’ve ever had before. He’s making me a home out there, conferring virtually about the choices that need to be made before I arrive, like apartment size and comforter color and teakettle type. It reminds me of the pioneer men getting ready for their mail-order brides. Lucky Tim, he already knows he likes his bride.

He’s hanging on for me, too. He has to be separated from everyone, the kids, the furry snuggle-puppy, my home cooking. He has to do it all by himself too. I know.

In a few months we’ll be on the road to our new home, bickering over which route to take, whether to listen to Rush or Nina Simone, relearning the boundaries of each others’ space, knocking heads and laughing at the new dimensions of our personalities. And I’ll hold him close and drink in his smell. It won’t be long now.

In the meantime, I get sad. There are just some days when I wish I could call him to come and kill the spiders for me.

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