Watching in the night
October 5, 2009
It’s 1:45 in the morning and I’m having trouble sleeping again. Vivid scenes from August play unbidden through my mind on an endless loop.
I abandon the effort to sleep and get out of bed to retrieve my robe from the bathroom hook, stopping for a moment to search out the window and into the darkness. I stand motionless watching the night, listening, waiting, hoping. I see only our still front yard and its massive oak tree, the early autumn colors illuminated by the porch light below my window. I hear nothing.
I do a quick calculation in my head. Seven weeks. Almost to the day. Since Annie died.
I tiptoe around the bed to get my glasses from the nightstand, trying not to wake my husband or our seven-month-old, little, white peek-a-poo Arthur.
I surrender to the insistent memories that disrupt my rest and walk downstairs directly to my computer desk. The glow from a light left on in the family room that filters down the hall isn’t bright enough to illuminate where I sit. I can’t see the keys on the keyboard. Even so, I am reluctant to turn on a light and disturb the darkness.
Arthur is crying upstairs. His radar on my every movement must have issued an alarm. I go back up the stairs, open the door to his cage where he lies beside my bed, pick him up, and return downstairs to take him outside to his fenced-in area.
The silence, solitude and darkness outside bring a tingle to my skin although the air is still warm. Again I stand very still to search and listen—but nothing.
Arthur has finished his business. I pick him up, return inside, and lock the door. I settle him on the folded blanket beside my desk where he often sleeps as I work.
I’ve known I needed to write this story for a while now. I would tell my sister Annie’s story in her own words if I could. In fact, there is nothing I would like better than to tell her story from her perspective. But I don’t know what she was thinking or how she felt. It wasn’t possible while she was alive and any remote hope that someday, somehow she might be able to communicate that to us has died with her.
I know I need to write this story, but I am afraid I have waited too long and won’t be able to remember it clearly. I am afraid it is too soon and I will remember it too well.