I took Lieve to the airport, helped her with her baggage and watched her pass through security. I drove home to an empty house, what was supposed to be our home, as she flew to what was supposed to be our new home.
She takes with her my heart, what was left of it after Emma died and she nursed me back to health.
As I pulled in the drive, the neighbors were on their way out and met me, the cats had become a problem, attacking one of theirs, so we’re trying to figure out what to do. Just a little more added stress.
I had looked forward to moving to Belgium, I had made friends there and was liked by her family. But she needs some space, and the only way I could show my love was to let her go. Letting go is about faith, I have faith that when she finds peace, she will remember our love, and rejoin our marriage.
She leaves behind more than just me, she had made friends in America, and has two cats which I now look after. She leaves her beloved hummingbirds, “Colibri” in Flemish. I will always remember her excitement when she saw the first one, losing English and just shouting “Colibri! Colibri!” with the most beautiful smile, the smile that makes her so memorable to strangers. At the shore last year one man who we were helping didn’t recognize her until she smiled. On her last birthday I gave her a custom blown glass hummingbird feeder, a heart with a red leaf, which she left behind, no hummingbirds in Belgium. She took the hummingbird ornaments and earrings I gave her, perhaps they will carry some happy memories.
Now there is just the empty chair she would sit in to take pictures of the Colibri, who still come around.
She left a garage full of empty cardboard boxes, the ones we were going to pack when I moved to Belgium with her. I try to sleep in our empty bed, she’s not here, and I’m not really here either.
Today I’ll probably take down the Belgian flag I flew outside the door, I’ll put up my pirate flag and try to find my inner pirate. I used to take the month of November as a vacation from society, a month to reflect on the year, looks as if that vacation has been moved and extended. I do have plans to see friends, but it will be strange without my wife.
Her beautiful antique map of Belgian railways is still hanging in the living room, as are the concert posters and other traces of her. I’ll make the bedroom “mine”, putting my clothes away in her dresser, arranging the room that is now empty. I’ll set up her keyboard, I’ve tuned my bass, and I’m planning to fill part of the void with music. I never really cared for audiences, now I can play for myself.
In this vacant space I hope to find time to write about something other than the vacant space. Right now that’s all I have, the emptiness. I get home too late to watch the news, I catch the BBC once in a while, I’m aware that no one can decide what to call the terrorist group that is over running Iraq, one commentator referred to them as “Terrorists”, “ISIS”, “ISIL”, and “IS” all in one statement. That might make a good article. I haven’t even had time to read my friends’ articles, so I stuff my weekend with catching up from the week. Next week I’ll spend a day of the weekend working overtime, better to start while it’s still voluntary, maybe that will put off the inevitable move to mandatory overtime. Any news about the Ukraine is speculation or propaganda so I can wait a bit on that story. Putin should be wise enough to stall any major escalation until Winter, using the weather as a weapon just like Alexander and Stalin did.
My new roommate should provide some interesting insights , he’s a Ph.D. candidate in Anthropology from Iran, a very pleasant young man who I rarely see.
Most of the time I will simply be patient. Without devoting my life to the pain of being abandoned, maintaining my hope that Lieve will find her way back to us. It may take months, maybe a year, but part of marriage is having faith in your spouse. My first two marriages I failed, I learned my lessons and went into this one with the dedication I shared with Emma. I won’t give up, but I can’t argue, she has to decide whether she wants to be committed to this marriage or not, all I can do is wait.