Photo/Writing Prompt: Through My Window
Photo taken from my car at North Point Park, Sheboygan, WI
I thought about getting out of the car. Crossing the rocks, putting my toes in the waves. I could hear the handful of children braving the cold water down at the beach. Squeals and shouts, words indiscernible as the breeze took them up and away. I considered walking down there, sitting in the sand. Still, I stayed in my car. Through my open window, the blue view filled my eyes until I closed them against the midday sun. Keeping them closed, I waited. The prism of outlines faded from the backs of my eyelids. The children’s voices and passing cars fell behind the hum of the wind. Everything went to the background except the water.
It was my therapy, listening to the lake. I’d started driving here after work on the worst days. The days when I had no wish to go home to face what was there. Or what was not there. Instead I’d drive here. I would stay until the sun was dipping on the other side of the trees and my stomach growled as if food still tasted worthwhile. At first, I kept my eyes open. I tried to notice everything, anything that could hold my focus. Every movement, every face, every smell and sound. Each one gave me a few seconds outside of my head. After some weeks I learned to listen to the lake instead. It was the only thing that could hold me long enough to do any good.
That was a year ago. A year. A year without him. I’ve listened for a year to the crescendo as the water swells before breaking and the waves course over the shore’s rocks. Twelve months of hearing the lapping water on the smooth little stones closer to the beach.
Even through winter I came. Window down, heat high in the car. It was less often by then though. I didn’t miss him any less but I was less startled by the absence. The emptiness of his favorite chair and his side of the bed didn’t choke me when I walked into the room. Instead of the lake after work, I’d leave early some mornings to sit in the grass and lean my back against his gravestone. That helped, too, certainly, but nothing could soothe like the lake.
Now summer has come again. Indifferent to my feelings, it would not be put off. Maybe I’ll get out of the car tomorrow. There’s a picnic table under a willow tree that’s empty most days. Maybe I’ll get out, walk that much closer to the water, sit cross legged on the wood of that table, close my eyes, and listen to the lake.