Since I quit my job, Kathy had been blissfully flexible with her work. She was able to work from home a few days a week, usually days of my choosing, and she rarely had to work at night or on the weekends. This is pretty unheard-of for a full time lawyer. I didn't realize really, how used to that I had gotten and how much I depended on having pretty much constant access.
We've always been a high-contact couple, by which I mean that we speak/email/gmail-chat several times a day. That has actually decreased a little since I've stayed home, because I'm no longer parked in front of a computer screen all day. But basically, for the last four years, I've felt free to keep her in the loop on every thought that enters my pretty little head (and that I have been privy to almost every thought that pops into hers). I like this. It means I can talk in half-sentences and she knows what I'm talking about. It means she can jump from topic to topic in a way every other person on the planet finds bewildering, and I can keep up.
But. Then. Yesterday, she had to work all day. THE WHOLE DAY, even during the Steelers game. I was so bored by her working during the game instead of explaining it to me that I ate 100 of those little hot dogs wrapped in dough that you buy in the freezer section (which I regretted). And, for the first time, she got really, truly irritated with me for popping into the office ask her something.
Okay, so the thing I was asking was whether she thought I could wash the curtains from the girls' room in the washing machine, despite the fact that they said "Dry Clean Only" on the tag (which, for the record, I went ahead and did, and they turned out fine -- but can't you see why I would want her buy-in before doing something like that, so that if they're ruined she can't blame me?). I guess I can understand why she would call it a "silly question," but I was really shocked, and kind of wounded, that she wasn't at least pleased to see me coming in for a visit, when she was stuck looking up boring lawyer things on the computer.
Today she is also really busy at work. We've had brief conversations filled with just the facts, and only about things that are slightly more important than washing the curtains. Emails have been one line or one word. Or not there at all. All of this is compounded by the fact that my beloved little sister is moving to London for two years -- in a matter of days. After a whole day of hating everyone and everything, I finally have come realize that there is actually a word for this horrible feeling: loneliness. I spend so much of my time wishing I had more time alone that this feeling is really quite unfamiliar to me. It's like my sister's move has created this little latent loneliness cloud that hangs over me all the time, and then on top of that, Kathy suddenly gets too busy for me. And there we have it, a full-on loneliness thunderstorm.
The weird thing about loneliness is that it's like a vacuum, sucking into it any desire to interact with other people. Especially a loneliness that is particular to one or two people, as this one is. I would talk to Kathy if she called. I would talk to my sister. Anyone else, and I would have to fight a really strong urge to let it roll to voicemail. I especially don't want to talk to the kids. As charming and cute as they are, they are incapable of discussing with me the things I want to discuss. I want a grown-up to talk to.
I suppose pretty soon I should stop feeling sorry for myself and go do something to change this situation I find myself in -- like find myself a grown-up to talk to. But for now, I'm going to sit just a little longer in my loneliness, and miss Kathy and my sister: my two favorite people on this earth, who are both out of reach.