40 Days and 40 Nights.on May 20th, 2012
And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights. – Genesis 7:12
It is the witching hour, that moment when the house is more an uncomfortable tomb than it is a warm oasis.
Years have passed but the invisible minute hand still ticks time until exhaustion surpasses uncertainty and I drift into temporary oblivion. Night and I have come to an uneven truce, brokered over tears and wine and boredom and fear. The sound of his breathing in the dark has long since faded but the impact of its silence quietly reverberates in ways we feel but cannot see.
And for 40 nights I have listened. Waiting.
I have watched him for almost four years, watching as he processed and readjusted to a different world that was confusing and unfair and empty. I watched as he fought back tears with a little boy’s determination and confusion only for them to be shed years later in uncontrollable waves. I felt his arm encircle us, his mother and his sister, as he draped the heavy mantel of manhood on shoulders that were too young for its weight. I listened to his confusion and hurt, trying to ease his pain through my own confusion and hurt. And we regained our footing together, through tears and laughter and anger and words and silence.
Then without warning the gentle ebb and flow of our daily lives was disrupted, our carefully erected defenses cracked. And the boy that fought so hard to accept the loss of a father and wonders if another will someday accept him as his own, once again woke screaming in the night.
In the dark he came running, searching for comfort against the nightmares. Night after night, cries in the dark that woke us both while tears fell from our hearts like rain on the earth. And I wrapped my arms around the boy that is the image of the man, wiping the tears and pushing away things that come in the night.
Lovely boy, sleep well tonight.