Museless

absence
"When everything becomes possible, almost nothing seems terribly practical."

The Muse has one of those jobs that frequently takes her out of town for a week. Originally, her assignment insisted that she spend a week away every month. Now, it's down to less frequently than that, but her absences have fully integrated as a part of her presence in my life. I'm "batching it" this week, having just dropped her off at the light rail station for the long ride out to the airport, which I've explained before, seems to have been placed closer to Kansas than Denver. We made final agreements last night while calculating when we'd have to leave the house to make the outgoing plane. If I was to drive her, we could leave as late as seven thirty but that plan would leave me driving catty corner across the Metro area during morning rush or cooling my heels somewhere until the rush ended. Light rail would mean more like a six fifteen departure but omit all but about ten miles of the seventy mile round trip for me.

"Not wanting to drive you to the airport doesn't mean I don't love you," I sort of pleaded, defending my stance.
I despise the drive to the airport, even in the new car it's a dangerous expedition. Drivers seem more careless when straining to make a plane, so the last fifteen miles of the trip out takes place on an Indy track absent Indy-qualified drivers and cars. I putt along in the slow lane, more obstacle than competing driver, but even approached passively, the sprint terrifies me. I try to avoid it, though I know my avoidance will both shorten the precious time The Muse and I will spend together this week and lengthen her already planned over-long day. I feel as though I'm abandoning her at the light rail station, but I harden my heart and pull away from the curb anyway.

I pull away from the curb into a world absent most of its usual constraints. In our relationship, her deadlines become my deadlines. I must remain aware of her schedule to be available to ferry her here or there, or choose to go carless that day. I'm reliably there when she asks in the morning for me to fetch her at five that evening. I hardly ever complain when last minute urgencies hold her behind the lab fence until much later. I usually bring a book and rarely leave supper cooking unattended under the usually delusional assumption that I'll be back shortly. She might need to stop somewhere on the way back up into the foothills even when she's delayed departing.

The house seems less livable in her absence. I tend to inhabit only a small portion of the place, still cleaning up the kitchen after every meal. Rose The Skittish Spinster Cat follows me almost everywhere, concerned, I suspect, that I might be abandoning her, too, since The Muse obviously has (again). She takes up about two-thirds of the bed in The Muse's absence, still managing to crowd me out in spite of her vast newly acquired territory. I don't mind.

I usually imagine a breakout in The Muse's absence. Freed from her schedule's imperatives, I could go anywhere, anytime, but I mostly stay close to the fire. I imagine some grand home improvement effort, completed to surprise her when she returns, but I don't usually initiate those, either. I might slip down into town to write in the little coffee house and watch the moon set behind Lookout Mountain, maybe find myself an order of smothered hash browns or a decent breakfast burrito, but probably not. I'll continue to write in her absence, flustered at just how much more difficult it seems to be to write without my usual constraints containing me. When everything becomes possible, almost nothing seems terribly practical.

©2018 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved









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