I wake up with his name on my lips.  I see his picture on the dresser and touch the smooth glass that does nothing to connect me with his true existence.  The image of his tiny form helps, but the clear, artificial surface that my skin encounters in the frame is unpleasant and almost unreal.  To truly find him, I look within.

Moments have passed, I’ve showered and dressed and am eating breakfast when I realize his name is the only thing that has gone through my mind for the last 20 minutes.

I go back to the bedroom to say good bye to Lu and I see her staring at the ceiling.  She’s only crying a little but I can see the turmoil beginning to froth within her.

“Don’t stay in bed too long,” I tell her.  She nods in response.  I give her a kiss.  Doing is better than laying around.  Showering is better than not.  I don’t say anything but just hold her close for all the moments of the day I won’t get to hug her and then I kiss her again and her soft skin feels like the only living substance in the entire world.  I leave for work.

I hate the sight of my car.  I bought the car expecting to fill it with many hours on the road with Silas at my side.  We’d deliver coffee, drive to the shop, go camping, so many things I’ve been looking forward to for so long in that machine and all for naught.

I turn on the ignition and put on NPR.  Meltdowns and war.  Beautiful.  It sounds like my soul.  Can’t have it today, though.  It’s too gorgeous out for words so I need music.  I don’t put on the joyful, upbeat music I had been listening to repeatedly as his due date got closer, but instead turn to tunes that have a darker feel, sharper edges, and a more cynical, bruising force.  Yep, it’s Radiohead’s whole discography instead of David Byrne’s latest offering, for now.

Traffic doesn’t faze me.  This isn’t the road to my son anyway.  The dumbass tailgater annoys me, but I just move to the side.  I drive slower than I used to sometimes, and other times much faster.  Mostly slower, though.  In the car, I think and when I think too long, I start to cry.

It’s a different type of crying than any I’ve experienced before.  The tears are hotter and more syrupy.  As soon as one crests over my bottom lid the others just flow in a slow, steady, burning stream.  They are the clear essence of my raging thoughts and they slowly empty my mind of sadness, of loss, of fear, of helplessness.  My thoughts finally calm, the leak is plugged and I’m thirty minutes down the road.

The vivid leaves on skeletal trees against the bright blue fall sky wrack me with the paradox of how beauty and despair can live in the same moment, in the same soul, in the same instant of vision.

I would trade the entire world to give it straight to him.  But that cannot be done so I must do… what?

This, I think.  Do this.  Drive to work.  Shower.  Breathe.  Know the beauty around me.  Know the loss of my son even though I never knew him.  Live extra in his name.  Love deeper.  Pay closer attention.  Do not forget for one second that the Universe is a wild and dangerous place.  Drive.  Work.  Listen to music.  Be alive even if it means living with an impenetrable sadness.

I have to convince myself of all of those things, things I have always known and believed.  It is endless work to not succumb to listless despair and then raging fury. I am an hour down the road.  I call a friend or brother or mother or father.  We talk and the tears come back but it’s good.  It’s good to talk about Silas and what I am feeling right now.

The words we speak to one another shape and define this ongoing experience.  We are unraveling a terrible puzzle that is mesmerizing in its complexity and danger.  Souls are destroyed on this twisting path, and so we must be careful to help one another around the sharpest corners.

I slow at the light at the end of the exit ramp.  I drive through New London, slowly, slowly.  I park my hated car at the coffeeshop and then I breathe.  I say his name to myself, Silas Silas Silas.  I go to work. I think of Lu.  I hold them both close, in with me, in my mind.

At night I drive home again.  It is still not the road back to Silas, but I drive anyway.

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