It's unusual for Mr. Chris to be gone on a Saturday morning -- it's his day to sleep in. But he'd worked into the wee hours last night (I know; I was up til 3 thinking he'd make it home and we'd celebrate the weekend together), and he had apparently already gone in to the office today. It's been hard for them since the new reporter left after three weeks' work. Lots of extra work, and he's a perfectionist.
So, coffee and newspaper in hand, I sat at the kitchen table with the phone and dialed him up. I don't like it when he's gone before I wake, no matter how grateful I am for the extra sleep. His voice answered, and instead of the tired, sleepy voice I expected given the circumstances, his words rang clear and alert. "Did you hear yet?" he asked...
That's when the knot formed. I didn't know what he was going to say, but now I realized why his absence bothers me so much. The last vivid memory I have of days on end where he was gone to work when I woke were in September of 2001. I interrupted the flow with a tale about younger son's escapades last night after bedtime, and he waited patiently for my babbling to stop. That's what I do, when I'm scared or upset. I babble. About inane things, usually. They're connected to the fear, if you listen hard enough.
When the onslaught of my minutiae slowed, his words fell like lead. "The shuttle's gone."
Why should it make me feel as if the world is about to crash in around me? Only last night, I stood on the back porch, looking up at the sky through the branches of the humongous, leafless sourgum trees, and thought about how silly and sad it would be to have no faith in a supreme being of some kind -- God, Yaweh, nature, Gaia, whomever... Now I think numbness might be better.
But I'll worry, and I'll pray, and I'll carry this knot around for a good long while, hoping that the silver lining in this disaster shows itself soon.