Anticipatory Swell

Now here comes the exciting part.

The Penguins won the first game of the Stanley Cup tonight. I mention this because I live in Pittsburgh and the thrill of watching it is a temporary one. I am here but I don’t feel I belong here. Like at Central Florida, it was a fine college for a lot of people but not for me. I rooted for Dante Culpepper as long as he was in the NFL, and I still have a passing interest in seeing the Golden Knights whenever they happen to be on national television, which isn’t often. Just so I happen to be in Pittsburgh now while the Penguins are good and so, wheee.

The excitingest part of anything is before it even happens. I haven’t gotten married yet but I’m about to and it’s exciting. We haven’t moved to who knows where yet and that’s exciting. I’m all abuzz every time I let it into my mind. Any of it.

The exciting aspect of it is that it hasn’t happened yet and therefore could possibly not happen and this is why I haven’t been writing a whole lot yet. I’m not the most profoundly superstitious fella around but I don’t like to count my chickens. We’ve already been in discussion about how maybe I just might have to keep working, due to some outstanding financial obligations, and it’s true, we don’t really know yet how a single income might or might not be manageable. So, while she’s preparing, I’m preparing. I’m practicing at keeping the house, making meals whenever I can, caring for the pets, trying to work these activities into a science, because if I do have to work even a part time job I’ll still be on the hook for them, and if I don’t, well, all the more writing time for yours truly.

The real test for me will be when she’s gone at basic training, which I’m trying not to refer to as boot camp because her recruitment officer never referred to it as boot camp, only basic, and I don’t want to be that embarrassing significant other at the cheese table. When she’s gone I’ll be alone with suddenly a lot of time on my hands, for eight weeks of near silence and then thirteen weeks of what will amount to a long-distance relationship, which is doable and tolerable but I’ll still have a lot of time to myself.

What motivates me is my mom. Of course I didn’t recognize how much she did while I was a wee one but as a grown adult person I can’t not notice it. Every conversation we have when I’m there on a visit, she’s got busy hands, washing, cooking, picking up, cleaning, typing, planning, it’s all second nature, she goes and goes and goes until she stops and then curls up in her chair with a movie or a book and that’s it, no more work that night, nicely segmented.

I will need the segments, particularly while she’s gone, I will need to get every busy thing off my mind so I can render myself open, available, to nights like this, where there’s just me and time and a keyboard. Nothing else on my mind. It has to be night, I think. The dog cashes in his chips by around nine. Before then he’s an attention whore. Barking and nudging and whining and chasing. Even with no other human in the house I don’t feel like there’s any me time until the dog gives up. But that’s fine. Segments. Do what you can do, when you can do it.

What I do know is we will live by the ocean. There will be a beach, or rocky cove, or dock, or someplace I can go and hear the waves. Breathe in the salty swell. And then there will be a home, and time, time enough to forget myself and strip down and bathe myself in language, in words, in characters, twists, betrayals, minutiae.

I’ve been drawing and it’s the classic can’t-finish-the-story syndrome anymore, like I can keep zooming in and zooming in and adjusting the fine points which you can’t even see when you’ve pulled back far enough to see the whole picture. Which can be a dangerous habit for a writer, but with practice you can get to the point where you know what’s big enough to matter and what’s small enough that you know in a week you might feel different about it, and different again the week after that, and I’m not there right now, I’m not in the place to finish things, for which I only need time, and time is coming, and as a writer I am so, so excited.

Of course, then, but what will I do without her.

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