defying definition 

The first time we talked about it, was on a dock, in the rain. We had gone out to watch the sunset when a sudden squall came up behind us and we ended up laughing and drenched.

What are we? Where is this going?

I said why do we need to define it? Why can’t we just be? We will have adventures and see what unfolds.

But then he died and all of a sudden it matters that he had no label. Labels create expectations and pressures that we did not want – but labels also keep life tidy. 

I stumble when someone asks why I’m sad. Who died? For simplicity’s sake, I call him my boyfriend but that diminishes him somehow. Boyfriends seem temporary. Replaceable.

I was his bumblebee. His boo. His love.

He was my heartbeat. My tomorrow.

He was Sam to my Suzie. Which I suppose may make him my muskrat.

Maybe we don’t assign enough value to the simple word “friend.”

“Oh he/she is just a friend.”

Funny the things that bother you later.




IMG_3857The CK aftershave does not smell the same in the bottle as it did on his skin. But leaving it on my dresser keeps the lie alive that he will turn up at my door one more time.

It has been 64 days since I last saw him. Touched him. Felt his kiss.

63 days since I heard his voice.

62 days since his last text to my phone, telling me he would call as soon as he was settled in with his new caregiver.

And 60 days since I got the other phone call instead.

The bottle is small. A travel size that would not be confiscated from his carry-on. Today I take it off my dresser, and empty the bathroom shelf of the “man stuff” I keep on hand for him. The razors and shave cream. The shower gel and sport sunscreen. His brush. I cannot bring myself to throw it all away yet, so it is relocated to a basket, which I tuck away in the depths of the linen closet, where I will forget about it for awhile.


are you ok?

December 15, 2016 – A lifetime ago.

We have been chatting on Facebook messenger, as we do.

We talk about the weather. It’s -1 degree where he is. It’s 68 and sunny here.

He says “Hey. I love you.”

I say “I love you too, baby.”

I send him a photo of my kitten. And the dog doing something cute.

He sends me a photo of his cat nestled in his lap, the two of them snug in his big leather chair.

He asks “How many days?”

“12 days!” I type. I am going to see him in just 12 days. An eternity away.

He tells me that he’s feeling discouraged and his energy has been non-existent this week from the chemo that will buy him a few precious months.

And then he asks “You ok?”

IMG_3890I stare at the screen. Flummoxed.

I am a thousand miles away. I am by turns angry, sad and grateful that I am not there going through hell with him.

He is going and I am grieving already. Extremes with nothing in the middle.

Manic with unresolved energy, there are projects started all over the yard.  The only time I am not a raw nerve ending is when I am physically engaged in some kind of labor. So I dig. I haul bags of sand and rock. I hack at tree roots and viciously uproot invading brush and shrubs.

Other days. Other hours. I lay on the couch and stare at nothing. Time passes. The day fades. Eventually I realize that I’ve been in full darkness for god only knows how long and this is not in any way healthy and I get up and turn on a light and go in search of food for a dinner I have no appetite for.

Many nights I don’t sleep. I toss and turn. I check Facebook at 2 or 3 or 4 am and see that he is also up, posting inspirational memes or links to the crappy old movies he is watching in his wakefulness. At some point he will call or text and I will listen to his fear, to the monsters that feed on him at night.

There is no anticipating the sucker punch that can double me over in pain triggered by a song; the sight of a hawk gliding overhead; a random thought.

“Are you ok?”

He needs me to be. And so I am.

I type my reply.

“I’m ok.”