June 29, 2008

It’s been a rough week. The end of the school year is always a bad patch for me – at its best I just want to sleep 24 hours a day, and at its worse I feel like my life has been a total waste. I’m at that second extreme right now. It’s like the school year puffs up my days full of air, and once that air is gone my life collapses into a new, shrunken state covering the odd, small shapes that lurk below. Every year I wonder how I could have let my life become so impoverished, so flat, so lonely, so boring. For the last few years I’ve also had the feeling that I’m a failure as a mother for not being able to shift into full-time mom mode as gratefully as everyone else seems to. The Boy has been my bulwark against the worst of these feelings for eight years in a row. This year he is gone, never to return, and suddenly that pain is breaking over me in waves that make me feel like this summer will drown me.

It’s pretty dumb stuff, too. This afternoon I dragged myself to the grocery store, and I was overwhelmed with thoughts of every trip we ever took to stock up. Every meal we ever botched in Nova Scotia, every pint of cherries we ever ate on the way home from the farmer’s market, every discovery we ever made in cookbooks and at the houses of friends: I’m the only one with that stuff still sloshing around inside me. From the way the Boy would talk in our last month together, it was pretty clear that he remembered our past as one unbroken stream of unhappiness. I’m the only one on earth left to think about the meals we cooked on our tiny hibachi and remember being in love. Sometimes I feel that the worst part about losing him is that I’ve lost my back up memories, and without my back up, how can I know for sure that I spent those years well? I thought we were happy but look how wrong I was. Why couldn’t I be wrong about everything else?

It was just as bad when I was shopping for Blake’s summer clothes. This is the typical, boring job we would have done together, late in the season and rushed. Every year we got to pick out the clothes we would get to love Blake in this summer. Now I get to pick out the clothes myself and think dismal thoughts about the Boy’s reaction.

Some people who used to be my friends got married this month. I’m in the awkward position of finding out through the internet, which doesn’t make this time any easier to bear. I just hope that they do better than I did. Than we did.

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Don't make me send out the Blake. He doesn't listen to *anyone.*