Speeding, I could have handled.
It would have been my fault. I saw the cop sitting on the corner and yet I still drove along going 5 miles over the 25 mile per hour speed limit. It wouldn’t have surprised me though in the pristine downtown streets for this officer to have had the time to nitpick and pull me over for my 5 miles over.
I was ready for it. But it wasn’t speeding. My tags were expired. I wasn’t ready for that.
As the officer told me I was a month late on my tags all I heard was, You’re failing Amanda, another thing Joe did that you can’t figure out. You’ll never be able to do this on your own and now even the police are pulling you over to make sure you know your list of things will never be checked off and instead you’ll wonder around this Earth lost, alone, and with expired tags.
Maybe that’s dramatic but it’s honestly how I felt.
First, it was the Chinese food. I was having a hard weekend, feeling depressed. Everyone knows Chinese food is the only way to fix that until you realize the only thing that could make you feel worse is that you have absolutely no idea where you order Chinese food from.
Another thing Joe did.
I called around the area, spelling out our street address only to be told over and over again they don’t deliver to my house.
“Do you want Chinese for dinner?” Joe would ask. It was usually a lazy Sunday thing. “Yes, I want that broccoli chicken thing”, I’d answer.
Then Chinese food arrives on the door step. I never asked where it came from or even what the name of what we ordered.
I cried tears right into my fried rice when I finally found a place that delivered to me.
If it wasn’t the Chinese food it was the Netflix password, if wasn’t the passwords it’s trying to remember trash night vs. recycling.
It’s not that I can’t do all of this, it’s that I simply don’t want to.
The baby has been sick for two weeks, up every couple of hours on and off. She just wants to be held, refill the humidifier, chest rub. I’m so tired I can feel my eyes crossing as I try and make her a bottle. I just want to tag out.
“I’ve got this one,” Joe would say as he’d head into her room at 3am.
“You change her diaper and I’ll get the bottle,” he’d say.
I know I signed up for this but man, I never thought I’d be doing it alone.
I have help. I have family. I have friends. But nothing can replace him.
I sat at lunch with Mira this week. A forced outing because I hadn’t been to the store. Table for two. We shared sweet potato fries and played pick up the napkins she throws. I couldn’t help but stare at the family of five across from us. The mom feeding the two older kids as the dad made faces at the baby..
The dad got lost in his phone and I could see the mom irritated as she balanced the three, trying to eat a few bites herself.
I remembered how mad I used to get at Joe for reading ESPN on his phone and not paying enough attention, not listening as I went on about Lord knows what.
I didn’t even realize what I had, just to feel him across the table without saying a word. Just knowing what the other one would order. Knowing the same story he’d tell as he got extra campfire sauce. Every single time, he’d tell me about work lunches eating The Royal burger with Quincy, then they’d waddle back to their cubicles and need an after lunch snooze.
It’s been two months. It feels like two years. I’ll feel like I’m turning a corner one day and then the next I’m ready to throw in the towel.
I don’t miss scans. I don’t miss bad news. I don’t miss seeing him in pain and knowing I couldn’t help.
But I do miss him. I miss every single thing about him.
I’m trying so hard Joe. I live every day by what you told me.
“When the going get tough, the tough get going. People are strongest when they have no other choice. These experiences CAN have positive outcomes. If you want them to… “
My outcome was a $114 ticket, and a lot of tears but I figured out how to order my new tag. I got into the Netflix account and hey, I even found a Chinese food place and the steamed dumplings weren’t half bad.