Christina A. Sharik

THE NIGHT BEFORE
(for Rod)

We lay in bed that night
listening to Rod McKuen’s records
The Sand, The Sea, the Sky –
he finally fell asleep
and that’s when I began to cry –
All kinds of strange imaginings
passed before my eye
as I listened to the ticking
of the minutes on
the alarm clock going by –

After making love and talking,
he finally slept –
I knew the words he said
would be the ones I always kept
inside my head.
We had a son, a baby
9 months old –
and he slept, too, in his
little baby bed.
Innocent of War.
I knew
that when his father returned,
he wouldn’t remember him anymore.

I played “The Sea” on “low”…
over and over, and then,
suddenly, it was morning
once again –
No matter how I tried to stop it,
the sun rose anyway…
and now it was the “dreaded day”.

Up early, getting dressed
a smile upon my face –
so much to say to each other
and neither was able to speak –
I wanted to scream “Don’t go”
but that would never do –
He played with the baby,
Hide and Seek.

You’ll be hiding, all right, I thought,
too far away to be found –
I thought of all these things to say
and couldn’t utter a sound.

Off to the airport and checked the bags;
regular passengers unknowing
All by himself with a wife
and parents whose fears weren’t showing.

And then… he was gone.
And we went home.
I broke down in the kitchen
and I said to my mom:
“What if he doesn’t come home?”
It’ll be ok, she said –
you have us, and you have your son…
it’ll be ok… she said again, and again.

It was noon, and he’d been gone
since ten.

Submitted for the April 2004 IWVPA Club Theme Project, “Leaving

The “Farewell” Trilogy

Part 1: The Night Before by Christina A. Sharik
Part 2: Last Night by Anthony W. Pahl
Part 3: Bruised Souls and Splintered Lives by Robert E. Wheatley