We took a field trip this week. Four teachers took 175 eleventh graders to the Zoo.
It just so happens that the Zoo is located in the same park as your tree. I told the other chaperones that I wanted to visit you, all three insisting on joining me in the ten minute walk. I work with some really lovely people.
I could see it as we approached, standing tall among the others. It really just gets prettier with each passing day. I imagine that's how a life with you would have been.
We found your brick, too. Just across the street from your tree next to the fountain. There was a letter a few months ago, letting us know the approximate date it would be laid but I hadn't searched it yet. There it was today under our shoes. All gray and permanent-like.
After I finished counting heads on the bus ride home, I got to thinking. Everyone tells me it gets better and I guess they're right, only that they aren't. For me, "better" is louder music in my car. Butter Pecan over vanilla. Better is adding a bold clutch.
It hurts sometimes. Responding to emails about meetings after work and weekend plans, attending the parties and partaking in the excitement of it all. The beautiful, ordinary-ness of daily life. It hurts to think that people look at me and think that I'm okay. That I'm better.
Better would be the extra car seat in the back, less room in our house because of baby swings and boppy pillows. Better would mean morning arguments with fathers due to sleep deprivation, spit-up stains on my t shirts and tiny socks hiding out in my sheets. Better was ripped from me mid-morning. Better is no longer possible.
You might notice a smile here or there. There could be a laugh or a dance, but I want you to know something important. Despite the growing trees and the passing of days, I want you to know that for me, better does not exist without you. I know that life must go on, but sometimes I don't really want it to. I know I'll be okay, but I don't really want to be.
So if you see my world spinning here, please know that I never gave my blessing.
Someone must have forged my name.