Today, Dante fell off the swings. I have no idea how he got up to the swing, how he was sitting, or how he fell off. I was feeding Scarlett and had looked away. All I know is that my son landed on his back, and I was afraid he'd bitten his tongue.
I opened my own mouth wide, demonstrating how I needed him to do it so I could see his tongue, and he licked my face. I squeezed him so hard, his eyeballs should have popped out like a cartoon.
When I met Chris (my friend that passed last year, for those just catching up), he licked my face. Every time I got wound up about something and he needed to break tension, he'd lick my face. I've seen him do it to a few people, and I know he did it to unnerve them. If they can handle some random wack-job licking their face, they were bound to get on famously. (Part of me will always contend he liked the taste of make up....)
You can imagine my shock and my heartbreak when my son, that never met him, licked my face like my best friend used to. If we can assume that time heals and I have a scab on my heart, that just ripped it off. What hurts so bad, what really ripped that scab off, was the glaring fact that my son (and daughter) will never meet him. He was fond of saying that he corrupted kids, and I really wish my kids had the chance to get to know him, to be as corrupted as a few other kids have been so privileged. That little nugget of truth is bearing its weight on my chest, and I am still figuring out how to breathe despite it.
I miss him. I miss him every day, to a varying degree. Some days, it's the fly on the wall that I can't seem to smack with a fly swatter. Other days, like today, it's the freight train bearing down on me so fast and so loud, it seems like it could just crush me.
And I must admit I am exceptionally selfish when I think about how much I miss him. I may wax poetic about how it's not fair that my kids won't know him, but what goes unsaid is how incredibly unfair it is that I don't get to talk to him again, or give him another hug, or have lunch at Los Cuates with him again. I am incredibly greedy with my memories. I have found a way to block out others from all the times we hung out and just focus my brain on him and how lucky *I* was to have him, if only for 14 or so years.
But I have to pick my chin up. And my kids (they just woke up). I know I can't, or shouldn't, let this wound immobilize me, even if all I want to do is crawl into bed and cry.