I am writing not in my new spot but rather at the kitchen table tonight. It is 7:00 p.m. and it has rained more or less nonstop for the last six hours. The air tonight is cold and damp, more like mid-spring or mid-autumn than June. I am dressed in sweats for warmth.
I am home alone for a handful of nights this week. Warren is in Seattle at the national conference of the League of American Orchestras. He will be a co-presenter tomorrow, an honor not given lightly and one that is well-deserved.
It is odd for him to be gone, which may be one of several reasons I am writing in the kitchen at the core of the house, rather than in my new space upstairs. The house is so quiet with just me here. (Admittedly, I can also sprawl my papers, my briefcase, my pens, my stuff all over the table, but it is the sense of aloneness that colors everything.)
In the seven and a half years that we have been together, we have rarely been apart for a night. This year we have already racked up two separations, a brief one in May when Warren flew to New York for a workshop, and now this one. (As I write these lines, I suddenly realize that last year we were apart three times—all my doing—but it just seems like more this year.)
Warren and I have occasionally (as in rarely) talked about what it will be like for him after I die, what it will be like for him to stay on in this house. (Obviously, I assume I am dying first, given the cancer.) I hope Warren will find comfort in the memories of our times together in this house. I hope that he will be able to sit at the table and remember my sitting here writing.
Death has been on my mind a lot lately for the reason that my first husband, David, died suddenly and unexpectedly ten days ago. He had been in touch with me a few times in recent months. One email led to a discussion of death, ironically. David declared we were still of an age where he considered us "immortal" and was perplexed that I did not share the feeling.
And then came the email from Muriel, his mother, telling me he had died.
David was bright and arrogant and witty and cocksure. As Katrina said after I shared the news and the obituary (for she too knew David), he was a complicated person.
David was complicated, one of many reasons out marriage did not last. But now that complicated individual is dead and there is only the quiet left.
The quiet here will end in a few more days. This house will again fill up with music and Reds baseball broadcasts and the mundane questions of daily life: "Where is...?" " Do you have...?" "When is...?" And I will take tremendous comfort in knowing that Warren is home and we are both still here.