We sat there, I had just put the car in park and went to turn the key off when he said, “No. This is…”, his voice broke and he looked away. When I asked him what was wrong, he hesitated and the kids in the backseat became restless. I wanted to get out of the car, settle the kids but I could feel he was trying to tell me something. Something his tired brain could not convey quickly anymore. So there we sat. No one but he knew why we were sitting in the car instead of getting out at this point. I glanced over as he looked down and simply pointed from his own chest to me then gently turned the volume up.
I listened. I heard words written hundreds of miles away, likely years ago as well. Words penned by someone else but they belonged to him today, to me, to us. I listened as the artist smoothly but somewhat childlike sang about his love. The way she smiled, the curve of her back and her adorable insecurities. How she loved her midnight snack, yet couldn’t carry a tune. How he would love her for always with all her quirks and these little things she didn’t know that he noted about her.
In what would normally be a corny moment, the gravity of reality swept down upon me. This was his way of saying he thinks of me this way after all this time. What he could not put into words, the artist had. I raised my gaze to him, took his hand and squeezed. This was our signal. It meant that I acknowledged what he was saying and that I loved him. It meant we were in the moment together.
Each time I hear that song I am taken back to that moment in the car. When he literally stopped time to let a song convey his feelings. It was common while he was well, for him to go to the kitchen late at night but before he did, he would wake me to ask if I wanted anything. The standard answer was a peanut butter sandwich that I would sometimes fall asleep eating. I cannot say for sure but I think he waited up for me to doze off just so he could take the sandwich away. Sparing me globs of peanut butter in my hair as I woke.
Many nights now, as I shuffle into the kitchen at 3AM, my mind gravitates to him. As I open the jar, I recall that song, his swollen smile. And I cannot help but to be in the current moment, realizing he has been gone for nearly fours years now. As I take my first bite, I head back to my bed, glancing at the empty side and wonder if I will wake up with peanut butter in my hair.
Photo credit to bulgingbuttons.net