Unfinished Business

Our tickets are booked, and we leave in one week, but life is fragmented these days. And though time is the ultimate ruler, pushing forward ruthlessly, everything seems like it’s not quite together. Our ticket is a half-ticket, one way to CDG. We’re not sure what to do with winter clothes, because they take up so much room, but surely summer won’t be endless. We’re also not sure what to do with love letters scribbled on impressive cardstock since they were meant to last forever. There are recipes left to be cooked, and couples journals started and forgotten, until this week when they were found. It’s been a resurgence of the past as we plan for our future. And these are things we need to tackle, because it leaves our house half-empty, but also half-filled with so much stuff. This process of clearing has us living half here, buried in bags, half there, unaffected by the chorus of voices reverberating off the now empty walls. The tic toc of yesterday sounds more like tic tic tic toc these days. It’s seeped into everything in here. Baby is half-cranky with two teeth on the top and only one on the bottom. The towels are perpetually half-dry, always damp since there are no longer hooks behind the doors. The pizzas are too doughy and half-baked, without the pizza stone. Half of us are eating at a time, perched on borrowed beach chairs, while the other half eat leaning over the kitchen counter, like tired conductors. Half table-eating, half kitchen-eating: A lonely experience. The kitchen too is always only half-tidy. Items constantly streaming out somehow find themselves back in, especially toward the lower cupboards, where sticky fingers pry. Our most precious possessions though, have made their way into a box and will be flying to Miami soon, where they’ll be watched over by our wonderful family. And when that happens, we’ll be half here, half there: Half protected and cared for; half floating in the wind.We’re also doing a wonderful job at half-parenting — threatening punishments we’re too tired to enforce, with broken bedtimes and tents in blowup mattresses, nothing feels as serious anymore. Half here: light and free. Half there: anxious and planning. And all this halfness is inspiring like your feet are no longer on the ground and you can somehow rationalize going against everything you know to be right and comfortable and sound. But it’s also lonely in the halfness, as others around us move with purpose and structure to the sound of their own mechanical clocks guiding them forward and back and then forward again. I tell myself to hold on. I tell my other half that too, though he doesn’t complain as much as I do. Hold on, I tell him and me— half is half of something, and time is round, and in the end, the sharpest corners will smooth out, and things won’t be so fragmented. But now that I’ve lived in halfness and floated in that other time, part of me wonders if I really need the two halves of that whole. Part of me wonders why I ever craved it at all.

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