His breakfast plate is still sitting on the counter, his fork upon it where he left it when he finished the eggs I made. His dress boots are still where he left them (in the way!) after his mess dinner last week. There is still a pair of his black socks on the living room floor. But he’s gone. He hasn’t gone far yet. He’s still at our little airport, playing his own waiting game. But near or far, he’s gone.
I’ve already accepted one invitation from a friend. I’m going to do my best to fill up some of the emptiness his departure leaves. It’s spring here, and I’m going to make sure to enjoy the sunshine when I can. I’m going to work out more. I’m going to make more plans with friends. And most of the time, I’m going to make dinner for one, but I’m going to be okay.
Okay or not, mostly what I’m going to do is wait.
I’m going to count the days until my best friend comes home. But mostly I’m going to count the nights, which are much darker, quieter, and longer when he’s away. I may even try to sleep in our bed like a grown up (instead of moving to the couch, as is my habit when he’s gone). But I’m also going to count my blessings. My best friend may be gone, leaving me once again in this foreign land where the smallest successes are often triumphs and the smallest challenges are sometimes insurmountable. But he will come home to me again. I only wait because I have so much, and I want it all back.
I still have no regrets, as strange and small as life often is here. That’s perhaps the greatest blessing of all, that I know I belong here, keeping the home fires burning, waiting.