Sunday, August 07, 2005

measuring distance

Some nights, he sits at my feet, his work spread out around him on the floor. Some nights, he occupies the opposite corner of the couch, other nights, the office upstairs. Sometimes a rehearsal calls him away, sometimes the dishwasher, sometimes the children. Close enough to touch, to speak, to call, yet not close enough to connect. If the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, the road between us is often long and winding.

I look at him across the room, his features virtually unchanged in the seventeen years since we first met. One year away from having known one another as long as we hadn’t known one another. There are mere steps between us, yet we are miles apart. When did the once well-worn path between us become so drawn out and difficult to traverse? When did we start creating alternate routes?

It is not a distance marked with hostility—there is, for the most part, no enemy fire or rebel insurgency. No barbed wire, no gates barred and locked, no armed boarder patrol. Nothing there but orange barrels and detour signs, as far as the eye can see…

One barrel flashes pride, another faintly blinks ambivalence, the battery running low. Another flashes unforgiveness, another self-righteousness. Lack of trust. Self-protectiveness. Nursing of wounds. Justification. Laziness. Fear of vulnerability. Fear of intimacy. Fear of rejection. Fear.

Road closed.

He looks up at me, his eyes still the same soft heather-green that once made me, to borrow a phrase from a client, “all twitterpated.” They crinkle around the edges as he smiles at me—a new development in the last few years. Oh, for him to look at me that way all the time again. To get out the ATV and buckle up tight and off-road it the straight line between our two points, kicking up dust and leaving tracks that cause people to wonder what idiots drove through that field…

Lord, help me to measure distance as you would have me to. Repave the way, sweeping away the sea of orange and blacktopping the express lane between us.

Help us embrace the open road.


Cynthia said...

Lorie, in mho this is your best writing yet. Really touching and thought inspiring.

lorie said...

wow- thank you!