it is christmas night and the house which was full all day of family and dear friends has emptied out and now only my mom and my dad and i are left. i need to move, i need to breathe. i take the dog out for a walk.
the cold is absolute, impossible to ignore. it illustrates each exhalation. it makes my nose and cheeks ache, my lungs feel clean. i crunch along in snowboots borrowed from my mother, a mile down the road to river oaks, where home used to be.
we moved in when i was three. the house had an enormous yard with the backyard sloping down into a perfect sledding hill, a long flat, and then the river. in the winter there would be ice skating, my dad cleared a rink as soon as the river had frozen over thick enough. it was a good house. good memories. my parents lost it in a flood the week i moved to the bay area.
so i stand in river oaks in the dark and the cold and look around but there aren't many houses anymore. i exhale, pretending i have been smoking a cigarette. i wish i had a cigarette. i look at the hole, the complete absence of a house. think about how nothingness can be so wrong. "that is where my house should be," i say to the dog.
and it occurs to me that this is what missing david feels like. an obvious empty place where home should be.