Next month would have been our 20th wedding anniversary. Would have, of course, being the operative words. If only, if only.
If only it had lasted. If only I could have seen what was going on, if only you had been brave enough and kind enough to have talked to me about what you were feeling. What you were missing. What you were wanting.
But that's water under bridge, now. The memories are shadowy, faded by time and experience. I can't even really remember what it felt like, to be married to you. I'm embarrassed to admit that I can hardly recall the sound of your voice.
I don't think about you very much anymore. Not like I used to, when you first left. Now, when I think of you, it's like getting flashes of a long-ago vacation, or an old movie. Thinking of you, and how you left, no longer elicits an anguished, "Oh my God"from me. Now it's more, "Oh yeah. That happened."
I did think about you tonight. The dinner table, the one we bought mere months before you took off, the huge and heavy rustic one from Pottery Barn...that table was full tonight. Our four teenagers and a couple of their friends crowded in, hunkered down and devoured a heaping bowl of linguine and garlic bread. The lighting in the room was low and warm, and their laughter poured out over the table and spilled onto the floor and permeated the air like the sweet smoky fragrance of a bonfire on a crisp fall night.
For some reason, dinners like this one tonight, they make me think of you. The sight of my children all together, sitting next to each other and not fighting, hearing them banter and joke back and forth, hearing "Pass the bread, please" and seeing them inhale the pasta...it's a thing of ordinary beauty.
It's something you've missed, these weeknight dinners. I'm sure you have them now, with your new family. But you've missed these nights, with these kids.
You've missed these nights, and so much more. You've missed the quiet mornings, watching your handsome sons do homework in the pre-dawn hours (did you know that they do a lot of their homework in the morning? You missed that, too.). Listening to your beautiful daughter hit the snooze on her alarm over and over.