I never told you this, but for the first two months we dated, every time you left I forgot what you looked like.
I could never conjure an image of your face in my mind; every time you came to pick me up it was a pleasant surprise when I opened the door. You just weren't a clear picture in my mind.
Is that weird?
You continued to surprise me for 13 years. Sometimes bad (which I won't elaborate on because one should not speak ill of the dead unless it's Hitler or a similar bad guy), and sometimes good. Wormageddon was a surprise. The ring was a surprise. Coffee in themorning on especially sleepy mornings was a surprise. Notes in my car and in my suitcase when I traveled solo. A full tank of gas. Sadie. A worm-filled black Lab puppy.
How much we were alike. How much I loved you. How much you loved me. How much it was possible to love another person who isn't your kid. How much I took for granted.
Do you remember when the Aquarium opened in Georgia, and we took little teeny Sicily and watched the otters? They were holding hands, floating in their tank. The would drift to the side, and one of the otters would push off into the center of the tank, and then they would drift back to the side, and the otter would push off again. One of the otters, the little girl, sucked on her paw.
That night, you took my hand as we went to sleep, and we slept all night that way. I found out a couple months ago that the proper animal behavioral name for that is "rafting," and otters do it when they sleep so they don't drift away from each other. From that day on, nine nights out of ten, that's how we slept.
I miss your hand at night. I wake up in the morning sometimes and my hand is stretched across the bed to where you should be. Eight months in and I still wake myself in the night looking for your fingers. Sometimes I wake up in the morning after doing that, and the pattern on the pillowcase looks like a heart and I think that maybe you were there in some way that night, which is almost worse than you not being there at all.
Surprising that just as I was really starting to miss you, then you were really gone.
(UPDATE: I wrote this blog on the morning of 10/22. That afternoon, a plumber showed up at the door to give us an estimate. He looked almost exactly like you - same height, same coloring, shaved bald, ratty baseball hat, Husky purple shirt on, blue eyes. He liked to talk a lot, and when he was consulting with someone on the phone, he paced in the sunroom and gesticulated, just like you. Surprising.)