That 22 year sadness is with me today, like yesterday. Nat came home with his light dimmed. He went to sleep right away. He didn’t want to do anything. Still, he watched and waited for me on the porch, to see the moment I came home from my bike ride. He watches for me, then when I pull up into the driveway, he walks back inside without a word. I hear the french door slide shut, I look up, and no one’s there. But I know.
I felt his face today and kissed his rough oily cheek to see if there was a temperature, but there was none. I asked him if he had a headache and he said a sharp, clear “no.” He wore a yellow Tour de France shirt — I went to Paris and all he got was that lousy tee shirt — and his hair was, as always, fluffy gold. He looks like a sunny meadow filled with haystacks under a blue sky. But that light was definitely dimmer. Why? Is he happy with his group home? Are the new staff good to him? Have they taken him on bike rides, for ice cream, or sat down with him to do Facebook? He seems to like Facebook.
But did I even do any of that? He didn’t want to ride with me. Ned took him for ice cream and I didn’t go. I was tired . I didn’t do Facebook with him, I forgot. He helped me with food shopping and he went on a walk with Ned, but it was all as if by rote, not from joy. I admit that I didn’t feel much joy this weekend, either, but that wasn’t because of him. I had slid down a rabbit hole, a pretty deep one, the kind I haven’t stumbled across in months, maybe a year. I wanted to get out of my body, the way you feel when you have a fever and can’t get comfortable. I just could not feel good. I rode 42 miles this weekend and still it took just plain old time to feel kind of like myself again.
This blog post was in me, hollowing me out like hunger. I just keep asking Ned, “is Nat happy? He didn’t seem happy.” And Ned, dear Ned, who always always takes care of me, said, “I think he’s happy.”
I tell myself that we have First World Problems. It’s not like someone is coming to chop off our heads tomorrow, to put it like Louis C.K. My problems are not knowing if my 22 year old glowing yellow son is happy. My problems are that I hated a conference I just paid a lot of money to attend. Or that my back hurts after 23 miles and why do I still gain weight if I ride so damned much?
But they’re my problems, and I should be welcome to them. I’m worried about my boy. I want him to have everything. On weekends like this it is just never enough.