I had to endure twenty-four hours of solitude in my own home this weekend. Because I had read my ticket wrong, I ended up returning home from France a day earlier than I had told Logan and he was still in Joplin. So after being away from him for over a week, I had to be away from him some more. Not only that, but he took Mabel.
I’m actually quite comfortable with being by myself. I rarely get frightened and I relish time to catch up on housework, watch “Project Runway” while I eat my lunch, and talk on the phone as long as I want. But there was a certain “unaloneness” in that day. It seems I am so used to having Logan and Mabel around that their presence was nearly as strong as if they were actually there. Even though they were gone, the empty space was so significant that it almost became a presence in itself, keeping them there and in my memory.
Logan is an extremely light sleeper and it has become a kind of love for me to not touch him during the night, so that he might not be startled out of his illusive sleep. But when he is gone, even though I could sprawl out on the bed, I sleep tightly tucked into my corner. Well, actually, I always sleep on his side when he’s gone. It helps, somehow, but I still don’t stray onto the other side of the bed, and I believe it’s because I’m still afraid I’ll wake him.
When I walk in the door, I bend down subconsciously, as though to say, “Off, Mabel!” and keep her from jumping.
When I took out the trash, something jingled in the bag and sounded like Mabel’s collar. I looked over my shoulder for her.
When I sit at the table to eat, his chair seems full of him, and I turn my computer slightly, so he can see the screen.
It was the same for Logan as well. While I was in France, he said that when he walked in the door everyday, Mabel would run up to him to be pet and then she would go stand by the door, waiting for me. I told Logan, “You should really hope that nothing happens to me before I get back, or that will be unbearably sad for you.”
The empty spaces were a reminder of to us of our loneliness and yet they also became a comfort, reminding us that we have someone in our lives and that person is usually here, just not now.
Logan is here now, sitting on the couch, twirling a strand of his hair. Mabel is whimpering beside him, telling him that it is supper time. The empty space was been filled with flesh and blood and heart. The ghosts have gone.