Like an alarm clock that rings when you least desire, Duncan – my parents’ black lab – has awoke. Sandy – a mutt of a dog I got my daughter on her 5th birthday – is ready to roll as well. Even the cat seems to have restless legs syndrome.
But where, oh where, is Kalista?
She’s always been in my bed or hers at this hour. She’s supposed to be tossing on this day-after-Monday; she should really be ornery about getting up earlier the sun.
I should be grinding coffee beans and pulling bagged fruit from the freezer in preparation for her breakfast smoothie. Her lunch should have been packed last night and in the fridge, ready to go this morning.
None of this, though, is the case. It is 6 a.m. and my daughter is not home.
It makes for a quiet house. A boring, clean house. My fresh produce is rotting with no one to help me eat it, the television’s still on Nick Jr. and there isn’t a reason to plan dinner.
I am useless – completely, unequivocally a man merely occupying space. No one needs me; I serve no purpose. I could be accosted by a gun-wielding gypsy and no one would notice my dead body in the kitchen for days.
That’s the spirit, right?
I reminded myself this was a rare circumstance. She hasn’t spent a week away from me in at least two years. I am used to our routine, and this trip to New York she’s taken with my parents will be good for her. My uncle, for instance, hasn’t seen her since infancy.
It’s a good thing, overall, this trip. I have seen that.
Still I cannot overlook what a significant – pronounced, emboldened – component of my life she has become. Life is simply no fun without her; I see nothing appealing about a world of which she is not a part.
I do not thank God enough for sending Kalista to me. I am haunted by the thought I must one day let her go.
And so, on this morning, and a morning or two beyond, I am in mourning. It is so quiet.