She spends her days waiting. Waiting for the washing machine. Waiting for the phone to ring. Waiting for them to come home. Waiting for dinner to cook. Waiting for her brain to shut up. Waiting to fall asleep. Waiting for the anger. Waiting for the frustration. Waiting for the next train. Waiting for a passing grade. Waiting for praise. Waiting to be good enough. Waiting. Everything between serves only to pass the time.
She remembers when it was not this way. She remembers a time when people waited for her. She remembers going out and being and doing every day. Now she waits for those things, too.
Her days are bookended by ritual. Each a reminder of who she is, who she has become. A reminder to give thanks for, and to, the One who revealed who she is and taught her how to be this person.
He said to her that if something happened to Him, that she must promise, as best she could, to continue to be this girl. To continue to be happy, to live. He said this when she was mid-activity. He said this and she became still, shoulders hunched against the idea, a fist clutched to her chest, eyes closed in concentration, willing her heart to stay whole. The agony caused by the mere speculation of being without Him, paralyzed her, stole her breath. He continued speaking of this maybe-thing, on the other end of the phone, not able to see her pain, not realizing she had fallen silent.
What do I tell Him? she thought, This man who is my soul. How do I tell Him that He is the center of my universe? How do I tell Him if His gravitational pull disappears, that I will surely go spinning off into the darkness? How do I tell Him that if He no longer exists, neither do I? How do I tell Him that He is my purpose, my reason, the embodiment of my joy? How do I begin to explain any of that? How does anyone say these words to another human being and not have the person collapse under the weight of a love that intense, that spiritual, that all encompassing?
While she was lost in thought, the conversation moved on to other things, as it often does with them. She never had to answer, to promise that impossible thing, to do more than sit with the horrible imagining of it.
The request of the promise haunts her. She knows that if anything happens to Him, He will take her heart with Him. The waiting she does now will be child’s play. She will have to go on living for those who count on her. Her days will be empty, meaningless, hollow spaces to be moved through.
If anything happens to Him, she will spend the rest of her days waiting. Waiting to follow Him into the dark.