29 March 2011

A Letter I Never Wrote

This is another assignment from my memoir class. We had to write a letter describing our worst day. This is my first draft.

Hey honey,

When I backed out of the driveway nine weeks ago I was mad that you didn't walk us out. I had to wrestle with the car seats and the buckles by myself. I couldn't fit the kids' wooden blocks in the trunk with the playpen and the suitcase, so I put them on the front seat next to me. Although they stared pointedly at me the entire ride, I stuck my hand out to catch them every time I braked. I drove north on I-35 for over an hour, beside the grey winter fields with the barbed wire fences until I was passing downtown Austin. I pointed out the UT tower and the kids craned their necks to see the Capitol like they always do, as if it was a normal road trip. I had the radio on when I pulled over to nurse the baby- I can't believe it's been two months since she was in the NICU- and that song came on, the one with the thumping base and the guy's voice strains out "I praise the God who gives- and takes away" and it's all I could do to hold it together.

I let the Taurus coast down that long driveway my parents have- it stopped in front of the pump house and I told the kids to sit tight. I got out of the car- the stupid thing has always smelled like pee ever since my grandma gave it to us- and sucked the cold air into my lungs for strength. My dad's shop door was open, but he never hears the cars come up so I went on in. He was polishing something or another and was delighted to see me. I gave him the best smile I could muster, and he asked me where you were- why the surprise visit? I don't even remember what day it was. Did I leave on a Tuesday? I don't know. I just remember when his happy smile faltered because I said something about you not coming, and could the kids and I crash there while you and I figured stuff out? Of course he welcomed us in and put us all in the downstairs bedroom. The baby slept with me and the other two slept on pallets on the floor- it was just a few weeks anyway.

Well as the weeks have stretched into months and we haven't heard from you, we moved upstairs and spread out a little. I told the kids the blood in your brain is all messed up and that you miss them. I stand in the foyer and stare down the driveway like a beat dog. I called you finally, but it sounds like your phone has been cut off. Aren't you going to even call us? Don't you want to see the kids? The baby smiles some now and loves to peek out of the sling while the kids play at a park near here. I don't know anyone in Round Rock except Celena. Sometimes I put the kids to bed and go over and cry on her couch. She's nice, but I think she's just waiting for the next juicy tidbit that she can share at the watercooler. My father hugs me every morning in the kitchen when I go down for coffee and asks me in this nerdy voice "has anyone told you they love you yet today?" Usually I just answer "nope" but this morning I just lost it and started crying, saying "No! No, okay, no, no one has!" He looked totally miserable when he heard that and I felt bad. I don't know what to do about us. How can we work on stuff if you're down there and I'm up here? The bank started sending me letters about the house. What are we going to do?

wife still waiting,

I'm honored that you would read New Mercy and I would love to hear from you through comments! Teresa (Tracy) Dear