My phone cost too much. It has bells and whistles and it brings me happiness through buttons and slight of hand, but it is quiet where a phone should be loud. It is stoic where I miss emotion. It sits still and ignored. My phone no longer rings.
When Anthony left he took a part of me with him. He was my outlet, once too large a burden for one friend to carry, but in a town where only one friend cared it was just enough to lay across his shoulders. Only he thought to include me though I could rarely be included.
It has sunk in, rather suddenly, that I am alone. This isn’t about my wife and my children. This is about me. Their love and support is not in question. My happiness with them is not in doubt. I have a situation that many would envy and I appreciate it as such. Yet, I am a man of social means and I have found that they are no longer met.
I do not go to work with other people and talk about football and politics. I do not shake hands or kiss cheeks or read too much into a pretty girl’s smile. I do not owe money in office pools or buy crap to send a kid to camp. My water cooler is a Brita pitcher and my Happy Hour is broken down into fractions and tangents while drowning in a bittersweet sea of children laughing and the floating jetsam of trying to forget that I am forgotten.
My children appreciate a different level of my humor. Jokes that don’t revolve around farts and cartoons are lost on them. Their conversation, while charming, is not always engaging. They want food, shelter and love, which I am only too happy to provide, but they do not understand that I too need, and while a single hug from one of my children can mend me for hours at a time, the wounds run deep and tender little stitches find a way of unraveling during bouts with scream and sleep.
I want to look into a face and share beers and stories. Writing this, it is a release of sorts, but I cannot share my best fodder here. I cannot see envy in the eyes of a reader or feel their slap of disgust across my cheek. There is no play and no shame. There is no understanding or immediate sense of regret. I cannot hear the instant banter or segue into the secrets they cherish and the demons they battle. I talk to screens and walls and whisper ‘I love you’ into tiny ears on heads that nod on feet that are too quick to run away.
I am missing a friend, and in doing so I am missing myself. I am selfish like that.