(High) FidelityHappy Birthday, my love. Tomorrow you should be turning 38. Your daughter and I should be baking you a cake. Or maybe we'd sneak off to a movie. Or maybe you'd be at work, and our daughter would go to school, and it would be a totally ordinary day, except that you would be here, and that would make it extraordinary.
In some perverse tribute to you, I watched "High Fidelity"--or the parts I could see through my tears--tonight. I remember so clearly the night we saw it (early in your Jack Black phase; the man is certainly talented, even if he is insane, and what a musician). And there are things about its anti-romantic messages about romance, especially the part where the girl says, "I'm too tired not to be with you," or when John Cusack's character says "I never seem to get tired of you," that ring so very true, even if--or perhaps especially if--they are the kinds of things no one ever really says aloud. They reminded us of us when we first saw the movie, and they still do.
I heard an Iraqi war vet talking about life after losing his leg, and it struck me that without you, I am something like an amputee: I used to be whole, and to take that wholeness for granted, but losing you has left me permanently off balance, diminished. I can do all of the things I used to do, and people might never suspect, simply by looking, that there is anything "wrong" with me. Sometimes, I even forget my own incompleteness. But then I feel the absence again, and the space you've left behind aches just as badly as it ever did--or worse, in its renewal. I can learn to make do with what is left of me, and to almost forget what I was like before. But I am irrevocably changed. I don't laugh as much, without you. I don't write much, except when I have to. I feel dreary and dull most of the time, and I seldom get excited about things. I don't look forward to things like I used to. I guess that's what they mean by "the walking wounded"--I am, and I am.
I don't know what I will do tomorrow to mark the date. But it will be for you, and about you, and--dammit--not with you. I love you.