I am reduced to a thing that wants Virginia.  I composed a beautiful letter to you in the sleepless nightmare hours of the night, and it has all gone: I just miss you, in a quite simple desperate human way.  

–Vita Sackville-West, to Virginia Woolf,  January 21, 1926

 

This quote was going around Tumblr a week or so ago.  I read it to my husband, and we agreed that the first line is a beautiful, perfect sentence.

Tuesday, I got in my car and drove to work, and that sentence echoed in my head, over and over–it pushed out the choruses of Hamilton songs; it drowned out the various worries and stresses and to-do list planning that usually make up my drive to work. 

I am reduced to a thing that wants Virginia.  

Scott is in Ohio visiting his parents, and has been since last Friday.[1]  

And, you know, I’m fine.  My parents are tag-team helping me with the kid (whether or not I need them to), and the boy is missing his dad much more than he’ll admit to his dad.  So I have them, and him, and homework, and dinner, and the Jon Cryer memoir to read, and the Hamilton soundtrack to listen to, and Doctor Who to watch at some point.

But.

We’ve been together since I was 18, Scott and I.  Back when we began, we were apart for holidays and summers.  We spent nine months away from each other while I was at school in England for a semester and then home for the summer.  It sucked.  We agreed to never do that again, then spent another summer and semester apart before finishing college.  After that, we’ve only ever been away from each other for a few days here or there–he was out of town for a week sometime before the kiddo was born; I’ve gone to a couple of out of state weddings without him.  In the past three or four years, the longest stretch we’ve been away from each other is a weekend.

So we spend most of our days together, and we never really have cause to notice the spaces we take up in those days.  I imagine it’s easier for him, because he has things to do there and family he hasn’t seen in a while, and it’s not the same as my coming home every night and seeing the negative space where he isn’t.  I feel untethered and a little outside of myself, not least because I’m navigating Scott’s spaces–making dinner, harassing the boy–and suddenly some of my spaces aren’t there for me to fill (because my father is an excellent houseguest in that he cleans the kitchen every damn day).[2]  

And we so rarely have to miss each other, I’m out of practice with it: that longing feeling that you just live with as, simultaneously, you pull away from it because it aches.

I’m lucky. He’ll be home Saturday.  It’s only nine days, total; I’m not falling into missing him and sobbing into my pillow at night (though it’s kind of amusing how excited I am at his texts right now–I’m 42 and monogamous; I’ve never done the ‘waiting for his texts’ thing before).  And I have things to do, and watch, and listen to; a boy to harass and things to write.  

But.

I am reduced to a thing that wants Virginia.

 


 

1 [back]If you read his blog, you’ve read why.  There’s  a swirling cloud of love and worry about my father-in-law that I can’t write about right now.  Writing about Scott is easy.  Kind of.

2 [back]Some of this untethered feeling, too, is the worrying; some of it is that I worked a different set of hours on Monday and everyone at work is sick, so, like, Tuesday seems more like Monday; the fact that I’m not sleeping well for a variety of reasons is probably also adding to this.  But those things aren’t part of the narrative, right?  You pare the details away that don’t make your point, elide and combine and–poof!–cohesive thoughts.  Or something.

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