Shit, she thought. What did I get myself into?
She thought she was ahead of the game of loss given her advance work on the blog and the book entitled, The Empty(ing) Nest Diary (END). But there seemed to be no escaping any of it. It was a lot like labor in this way. Unpredictable. Chaotic. Tender. Remarkable. Excruciating.
By the second day, she began to feel that she was caught up in a bad dream. Her son’s impending absence was so thick around her heart, that she felt the need to hug him, but she couldn’t find him—not in the bookstore, or the meal tent, or in the lounge or in the residence halls.
Once or twice she thought she spied him among the crowds, and she even ran toward him, only to discover that it was another handsome young man who did not belong to her.
When she crossed paths with his friends, she had to restrain herself from embracing them, though she did over eagerly greet them with a desperate joy.
“Have you seen Lloyd?”she’d ask, trying be casual, as if she was just making conversation, not letting on that in fact she was caught in a nightmare where her son was just around the corner, but she’d never find him. Again.
When she finally did stumble upon him, the real him, on a tour, she hugged him. In public. In front of strangers. He didn’t seem to mind. Too much.
They would meet for lunch. She placed herself at the first table in the tent, facing the entrance so that she wouldn’t miss him; and still she looked behind herself every 10 minutes just in case she’d been distracted and missed him rushing by.
But he did eventually arrive, and even returned to her table once he found some lunch. It was a light meal and quick conversation and then he was off again with his friends.
Suddenly she realized that this is how it would be.
He would breeze in and breeze out of her days like breath after a long time underwater, and she would be both refreshed and emptied in the space she created inside to receive him.
She resented this. Because of her father.