Tonight I picked up some food at our favorite pizza and pasta takeout joint. While I was waiting, I couldn’t help but smile at two young girls, clearly friends and not sisters, probably eight or nine years old, sitting alone in their own booth (but right next to their parents’ booth, of course), just cracking up hysterically at who knows what. They would grow quiet and put their heads together and then burst into uproarious laughter and fall all over each other. I remember those days with my little girlfriends so well, even now, well over twenty-five years on.
Hudson will never have that. I will never have to lean my head over a booth and tell her and her friend to pipe down just a touch. I will never get to wonder just what she and that friend might be whispering about—boys already? Or just someone funny they saw walking by? I will never get to feel that motherly pride of being let in on the secret at some point or another, knowing that she trusts me enough to tell me something special.
I have been thinking a lot lately about how she seems so very far away from me these days. We live in a town and a house that was never her home, although she visited here from time to time. I wear my hair in a cut she never saw me with. We take walks on routes she never knew. Her little brother grows older and bigger each day, and soon I will no longer have the opportunity to mention her at almost every breath, because he will be older than she ever was and I will no longer have her as a point of comparison. I spend far too much mental energy thinking about cancer, wondering how much longer I will have to be in treatment, how it will affect my life, whether I will really be cured, how I will manage for the rest of my life the fear of the cancer returning. There is too much white noise. I feel like I am missing the essence of it all somehow.
I want more time. I want more time with her. I want more time for her. I want her. I want her.