Wednesday, March 14, 2012
And Time Keeps Moving On
For months I had felt like we were drifting apart. Whether it was school, work or just simply life, it appeared to be happening. Phone conversations had dwindled to few, and were vastly empty and void of real talk when they happened.
He'll be twenty six years old in April. I'm not really sure what I expect of him. He's not the little boy who cries for me anymore. He's not the teenager who neither asked for my opinion or used it. And yet, I still seem to need for him to be both of those people. In one breath I want him to be self sufficient and in another, I want him to need me. For something. For anything.
It was vastly apparent to me during this last visit that he really is, all grown up now. He washes his clothes, and dries them once. No re-drying, that wastes electricity. He turns out lights, keeps the air conditioner running at a minimum to conserve energy. He uses a towel more than once. He buys "the cheaper, but just as good as" brands of grocery items. He has a filter on his faucet, as bottled water is expensive. And his entire diet has seemed to have changed. To healthy, sugar free, fat free, foods. And he cooks. He made THE best meal for me while I was visiting.
His apartment has two bedrooms so I stayed there with him instead of a hotel. Which makes for much more relaxed late night conversations in PJ's and no one worried about having to drive back across town. And we talked....about everything. His plans for his 4th year. His plans for after. His plans for summer break. And his plans just to get through the rest of this semester. The book he's writing for publication. His thesis. His need for simplicity. And his always need for structure.
He had initially thought his next step would be a PH.D program somewhere. But he's tired. Really tired of school. So now, he's considering with a great deal of seriousness, applying to teach English and writing in a foreign country after graduation. And I think, if truth be known, although I am very excited about that idea, and excited for him, a part of me knows, this next year, may very well be the last year I will be this close to him. In location and spirit.
When he left for college in Alabama, it was very hard. Seeing him only three to four times a year was just very hard. But moving to another country. Now that folks is a whole nother ball of wax. He's always wanted to travel. To see art and writing in the form of reality, not just from a book. To step outside of his own door and physically see the words used for beauty and hear the sounds he's only read about.
As I stood in his apartment complex parking lot, I found myself barely able to breathe. I was trying desperately not to cry and not succeeding very well. I knew full well I would see him several more times over the next year, but I had such a sense of finality in those moments. It's very hard to describe. It was painful, joyful, and an all of a sudden, full realization that things would never really be the same from that moment on.
I hugged his neck and cried. He hugged me tighter and I cried harder. I said I love you through choked tears and raspy breaths. I got in my truck, rolled the window down, waved good bye as I drove out, and continued to cry halfway through town. I stopped to fill up with gas, glancing at my face in the rear view mirror, and what a horror I was, with mascara dripping eyes. Grabbed some tissues from the glove box, dried my eyes and my face, got out of the car, hitched up my pants, threw my shoulders back and pumped my gas.
All the way home, I replayed our trip, our conversations and listened to the two mixed CD's Josh made for me while I was there, to keep me occupied and awake on my drive home alone. I probably won't be able to listen to those CD's again for a few days. But you can guarantee when I can listen again, I will be right back there in Tuscaloosa, sitting on that couch with my son, laughing and talking, and living life in that moment in time.