The Chill

It is 4 degrees tonight in NYC. Four. There is a wind chill factor of negative "what the f**#k???", and I can feel the missing of my husband inside every aching joint and bone. The missing of him sits in my veins tonight like ice - making my eyelids and my teeth and my fingertips hurt. Really.

There are sometimes days or weeks that will go by nonchalantly, where nobody in my universe ever mentions his name. Nobody says his name or talks about him or acknowledges his life or relevance. Of course, my husband's life and very soul sit within me every second of every day, but it can get rather lonely and crazy feeling when you are the only one who is carrying around that very heavy missing of him. It sits there, in the background of everything that I do, and nobody else can feel it.

I feel it. I feel it with each labored breath, when I run through the cold night air to my car, my arms frozen and my knuckles throbbing from freezing wind. I get into the car in the university theater parking lot, where I just finished a full day of teaching college courses, followed by running auditions for the show I am directing this spring. Watching the auditions of about 50 or so Acting students, singing and doing monologues in the hopes of getting cast in our show. I reach the car and slam the door before the cold slides into my sleeves and paralyzes my arms and elbows. I turn on the engine and bask in the glory of the building heat and warmth. My fingers shake and I can't seem to get rid of the chill that has entered my heart. I sit in the car with the cold and the knowledge that nobody ever brings up my husband's name anymore. They are not trying to be cruel. They just do not feel the need to talk about him. But I do, and I always will, and the weight of that and the truth of that and the brutal reality of that slams into me like the bone-chilling cold air - and suddenly, of course, I am crying. I lean forward on the steering wheel and just pour out the tears from my eyes because they won't stop now. The missing of him is so cold that some of the tears end halfway at my cheek, and freeze in time. The missing of him has stayed inside of me and hidden for hours - all day long - through classes, through lunch-time, through conversations with students and colleagues, through loads of auditions. I carried the missing of him all by myself, all day long, because nobody else made mention of it.

What if I don't talk about him anymore? What if I get too busy, and his presence gets lost in the wind or the cold air? What if I have too many things to do, and then the second I sit still, the silence and the pain overtake me, and I'm sobbing because I have hurt him in my neglecting of him? What if his soul gets twisted up with the wind chill, and he spins around in a huge storm cloud, landing somewhere unfamiliar? Will he know it's still me if I haven't said his name in awhile? If Im living my life and missing him inside but not saying it outside? The missing of him is constant, but repetitive. How many times can a person express to people that don't want to know: I miss him. I miss him. I miss him. 

The missing of him is so automatic, so instilled, so natural  - it sits and it stirs and it lives inside the cold, nasty wind. Say my name - it whistles. I am here. 

And I miss him with every breath tonight, as the wind fills my lungs with his death.

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