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Nine Years

April 12, 2010

The wind is curling around the chimney, its voice airy and lost. Rising, falling, fading again into the night. Spring is whipping itself into a frenzy out there, and the air is still filled with the sweet promise of rain.

Sitting and listening to this song that echoes in the dark, I am reminded of a night that brought my life to a sudden halt. Nine years ago.

That night I tried to read, tried to sleep. I sat on the living room couch and watched shadows on the wall. Then I paced, casting my eyes to the clock every few minutes. I watched the street. Every car that turned onto our street passed the house, and the minutes became longer and darker and deeper.

By the early morning of April 13, 2001, I was fairly convinced that my husband was dead.

He didn’t come home from work that night. Didn’t call. I didn’t know where he was or…if he was still breathing. The breath I could hear was the tidal rhythm of my three children as their chests rose and fell in gentle sleep. I watched them in the dark. Curled beside my baby girl to nurse when she called out. Desperately tried to find sleep myself.

It never came.

The sun returned, as it always must, but with no sign of my husband. By then, I had figured out exactly how I would use the life insurance money, starting with moving out of my mother’s house, where we were all living at the time, and getting back on my feet as a grief-stricken widow.

But then…he called.

April 12-13 2001…the arc of night into day that ended one life, and started another. It kicked me in the gut and ripped my heart from my chest. It made me hold my breath for so very long.

Nine years later…I am no longer that person I was.

I have 87 pages of journals from that spring to summer to fall, and am working to weave them into something of substance…a book perhaps? In the meantime, I was just reminded, as I listened to the voice of the wind, of what was happening on that dark night 9 years ago. The night my world cracked open and closed up again like a fist.

But now, and because I can….sleep. More tomorrow.


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