Today, I saw a t-shirt that said “Metaphors Be With You,” written in a “Star Wars” font. While I haven’t been very communicative lately with anyone other than my sons, I immediately complimented the woman on her shirt. The slogan perfectly expressed the hollowness I’ve been feeling lately.

Moose left for computer camp ten days ago. Wild Thing left for leadership camp five days ago, and Wizard is busy continuing to fail classes in summer session at college. I found myself  utterly alone in my cavernous home. When Casa Zona (the Zone house) was filled with all my  men, it felt so alive. It was trashed, mind you, but vibrating with the sounds of teenage boys and their dad. At any given time I’d hear someone playing guitar  or honking the saxophone, the dulcet strains of HGTV and Food Network shows, or the raunchy lyrics and laughter of  YouTube videos. 

When WineGuy died, the melody left my life. When the boys left home, the harmony was gone, too. I could hardly bear the deafening silence I craved during the boisterous years of the boys’ youth. I missed the noise, yet any noise irritated me:  an awful paradox. And so, I find myself perfectly alone on a vacation I insisted I wanted to take by myself, and I’m beginning to understand the incessant prattle of my mother, who was widowed eight years ago. With no one around to talk to, I’m grateful for any human contact. That is, I’m grateful for people who reach out to speak with me, but I am not remotely interested in phoning any friends “just to talk”. 

It’s very weird:  I only want certain people to engage me in conversation. I’m delighted to hear updates from Moose and Wild Thing at camp, but every conversation with Wizard catapults me into paroxysms of frustration and grief for WineGuy. An intense discussion with Sprite about books and writing was far more nurturing than a recent dinner with Belle and Calvin, which felt more like an intervention than a fun girls’ night. I am brittle and empty, and I don’t know what to do with myself. If WineGuy were with me on this vacation, we’d be out running and exploring from dawn til dusk. He always filled in the details of the big picture I painted. Now, I have to do that for myself, and I’m paralyzed in that hollow space between desire and inertia.


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