I’ve spent a week in 2600 square feet trying to figure out if the dog is depressed. She’s been moping while you and the kids are in Los Angeles. I throw the ball for her and she runs with excitement. But I know it’s a put-on because when we get inside the house she does not trot, she walks. Worse, she walks to our bed and jumps up to curl in the space where your head would be. She looks at me with sad eyes.
I put pictures up in the boys’ rooms.
G has framed copies of the US Constitution and the Gettysburg Address and has leaned them up on the wall where he wants them to hang. I find his love for these things odd and charming. He is definitely a history boy. But I miss the days when it was all about Buzz Lightyear and Woody. The days when he did Lego “set ups” and told the stories of pirates who had parrots that could speak Chinese.
In L’s room, I find a picture of my dad and put it up near his bed. Lately he has said he is sad that he had not met his grandpa. Though in truth dad came out to meet him just a few months after he was born, there is only a photo of dad holding L while sitting on the couch. Dad smiles with L in his arms, unaware that in 7 months a doctor will tell him he only has 3 months to live. I think L does not understand death but one day, when he cries uncontrollably in the car over this loss of what he never had, I realize I am the one who doesn’t understand.
I hang the picture near his bed: A shot of dad eating an egg in the kitchen he and my mom shared. In the frame he is looking down at L’s bed, watchful.
Then I go back downstairs and wait, reading a book about a therapist who sees a therapist.
I look at the empty side of the bed. You have spent the last few weeks in our old stomping grounds: the Grove where we bought a couch; the place on Wilshire where we argued in the Mini-Cooper about when to have kids; Crescent and Sunset where our apartment sat next to the parking lot that was once the Paradise Hotel. And now you are on your way back from Los Angeles, traveling down through the Grapevine in the dark to me with two sleeping boys in the back who will be men sooner than I know.
Come home safe to me. I miss you.