Thinking in Circles

He’s coming in a week, and I have this strange pain in my chest: heartache, I guess. I can be tediously literal that way. The copyeditor’s curse.

I am successful in not thinking of him most of the time every day; okay, yes, I do think about him every day, but there are hours and hours when I don’t. There’s this part in Infinite Jest where a recovering addict is in unbelievable pain, but refusing medication for the obvious reason, and he is realizing that since taking it one day at a time is too much, he can split his pain and longing into smaller pieces; no single moment is unbearable, he thinks to himself.

There’s no way not to think about him every day. It’s mostly very small thoughts, and I am usually able to focus on the fact that he seems to be blossoming in the care of Nora, his Daddy. She changed jobs for him, you know—when Ruth found herself unable to have custody of him for long stretches of time, Nora left a lucrative job which required long hours and much travel (for another good job, I hasten to add. She’s doing okay). The pictures she sends show him grinning; when we’ve Skyped, he has seemed energetic and cheery. I am careful when I think about it, almost all of the time.

But then there are these times when some event or anniversary swings around when I can’t think about him without thinking about who is just—not just him, and not just a boy, but a boy who looks like my husband and sons—my boy. Nora’s boy, Ruth’s boy, and a boy who doesn’t know me much. But I miss him, when I let myself. And even if I could help it now, I have to let myself—or it will drown me when he’s here.

I miss him.

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