A young couple lives across the street from my corner room window. I can’t see their house well from here, but I can see their garage, outside of which they park their two cars, a white minivan and a black sedan. I’ve been aware of them for about a year now. From here, two buildings away, they seem attractive and businesslike. He, slim with dark blond hair, mowing the lawn, tooling around in the garage, or taking out the trash with his crisp strides. She, petite and stylish with long brown hair, also mowing the lawn, or pulling large bags from the car.
Not surprisingly, I most often see them arriving home from work, separately, in the early evening, like most people. As I watch each of them park the car, gather belongings from the passenger side, and head up the long path to their home behind the trees, I always get a pang. It’s a pang in my stomach, a longing, a whiff of memory that reminds me how much I miss that moment. I miss coming home from work, or somewhere else, when I’ve been out all day. I miss that feeling of pulling up in the car or walking up the block, the end-of-the-day feeling. I miss the sound of the key in the lock, the smell of home that hits you when you first walk in. I miss that tired feeling (“good tired” Mike and I call it, as opposed to “CFS tired”) mixed with relief at being home, and the anticipation of whatever food, drink, animal, human or couch awaits you.
Every time I see one of my neighbors come home I get the pang. The last time it happened, I made a list of other everyday things I miss, taking a page from an old post I remember of Laurel’s on Dreams at Stake. Most of the items on the list are insignificant, some even cliche. But I think I miss them more than the big things: the trips, the jobs, the parties, the weddings, the reunions, the holidays. When I get better, whenever that is, it’s the little things I’ll tackle first: a brisk walk around the block, a long-overdue two-hour phone conversation, or a twenty-minute shower. The much-imagined trip to Buenos Aires can wait.
I miss running down the stairs.
I miss settling down into the cushioned theater seat in the moments just before the movie begins.
I miss having clean hair, a clean body, and a washed face, all at the same time.
I miss eating out: the neat table, the clink of dishware and murmur of conversation, the inviting menu, the anticipation.
I miss running for the bus/train/subway and dropping down, geeked up and out of breath, into my seat.
I miss that stiff feeling in your legs when you get out of the car during breaks from a road trip.
I miss sweating from exertion.
I miss that first sip of a freshly drawn pint of beer.
I miss putting on (loud) music and cleaning the apartment, top to bottom, until I’m dirty and sweaty, and then showering and enjoying the cleanness of everything.
I miss weeding, pruning, raking, painting, sanding, fixing, assembling, and the feeling of accomplishment that accompanies a physical job well done.