While Away

written May 21, 2008


It is early afternoon on Tuesday morning, and I have just returned home to the apartment in Edwardsville.  The very first thing I did, even before unpacking, was to check Yahoo and my email.  I received an email from you like I thought I would.  I’m sorry, first of all for being unable to reach you the last two days, but it was not for lack of effort.  I want to tell you about my weekend- and I would really like to hear from you- and also with this email I can give you some form of heads up that I will be calling at 3 pm my time, 10 pm your time.

Another pretty long, straight drive home led me to arrive in Elmwood Sunday morning.  I had spent part of the previous day searching for an obscure 1985 Kate Bush album called Hounds of Love, but to no avail.  I really tried, because Sonya so rarely has wants of any kind.  One of her pluses has always been she doesn’t feel she needs very much.

Part of the brunt to bear of only occasionally being home is that my time gets monopolized and divided before I know what’s what.  Yes, I know to look at it as a good thing, and I realize it’s because I’m loved so, so I let it slide. =)  It’s funny though.  For all the questions I get (often the same one many times over), they seem to be a little lost in where my life is.  And not the details, but the big, I-know-I’ve told-them-many-times things.  Soon after I got home Mom said she was concerned for the classes I’m taking, because she’s afraid I won’t be marketable to an employer.  It turns out, after me asking her a few things, she wasn’t aware I was in graduate school.  She said herself she thought I was just taking random classes, and had never even been accepted to the ESL program.  The caused in me a great amount of amazement and curiosity to exactly how both my parents could not be the loop, especially when many of our conversations are about this.  I was just bewildering to me, but not in any type of angry way, just a “where have you been” feeling.  So Mom got out some paper and wrote down that I was attending SIUE (wasn’t sure of the school), and that I am pursuing what I am.  OK, enough of that.  I’m laughing about it even now.

My main goal was to spend most of my time with Sonya, but unfortunately or fortunately Dave was also there, so they were the usual couple, and I happy she could have her 21st with him there.  Still soon after arriving Dad wanted me to hop on his motor-scooter, and try it out.  I did and took a quick lap around the block, and did well enough to not crash in to a ditch (Really).  But Dad insisted I also follow behind in his car as he himself rode around the country roads, to see how really FAST it could go.  So I was congenial and played along, happy to be able to let him share his toy.  It’s sort of inverse to how this whole father-son thing should go, you know, be sweet all the same.  Finally he offered the bike for the afternoon and its full tank of gas, which I declined multiple times.  Both also asked if I was hungry, and said I should have a sandwich.  I declined again, multiple times.  Oh, how lucky I am that concern and love can be so strong as to be mildly annoying.

With all of this attention (I was happy again to be around people and talk), around five o’clock I suddenly froze and looked at the clock.  It was five o’clock, an hour after I said I would call.  Mom was right there, and I made her promise to remind me to call you the next morning at seven.  We both made separate notes.  We talked a lot and since Dave was once in the clutches of Wal-Mart’s employ, I recounted the story of us asking a clerk for help.  Like I expected, he said they were very strict about time clocks and getting sued.  I said I would like to have the ability to never shop there, plagiarizing what you’ve said a few times.

Saturday morning Dad and I went to Canton, I in a further search for the blasted Kate Bush songs, and Dad just taking up the wistful time of his retirement like usual.  He insisted on breakfast, and I found a place that was similar to our breakfast place downtown- just a little more small-townish.  Where we sat was a virtual shrine to the Cardinals.

I never did find the Kate Bush cd, but had ample opportunities at Slayer and Trace Adkins albums.  Passed. Dad pressured me to stay even today, saying I had to be there for grilling out and steaks.  But I know it wouldn’t be enough even then.  I said I had to get back today, to look for work, and he said I should just stay a week and look then.  That made my mind up for me, and Mom agreed wholeheartedly when I said Dad was trying to keep me in Elmwood.  For as much as I am made to feel welcomed, the flip side is I feel horrible and negligent when I try to literally slip away.  And I do want to assure you, as I’ve just been typing and not keeping all the details chronological, that Mom did wake at seven, and I was dialing exactly then.  I tried both numbers and pins, and tried both the house phone and my cell.  Each time it said the system was not responding.  I may not entirely understand- although I try to- what it’s like to not have communication when it’s expected from someone else, I very much know what it is to be trying to be doing the communicating, and not getting through.  It’s infuriating and frustrating and you wonder if you’ve just dumb for not being able to do it.  If’s its your (which I mean “mine” in all this) fault by not being able to call correctly, if if the network really is not responding.  But most of all is a disquieting fear that at that very moment you (by which I now mean “you”) are standing by a phone that refuses to ring.  I hoped, as I sat there, trying again and again, that you would understand, and at least hope that I was trying, and that not getting a call wasn’t because I wasn’t making the multiple attempts.  I guess it comes down to a hope that your first opinion will be that something is preempting me from calling, not that I am ignoring you.  Because I can’t, even from way over here.  I feel so often like a guy without his other side, his other arm.  I really look forward to when you’ll be back, and things will feel normal again.

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