This morning we enjoyed our Sunday ritual.
I get up early in the morning, grab a CD (today it was The End of Silence by the Rollins Band), and trek over to the 7-11. There I make a 20 oz. cup of coffee for myself and a 16 oz. for Gerri (I haven't seen her finish a cup of coffee since Spring Semester at SUNY Albany, 1993). I pick up the Sunday Times, pay, and head back to the house.
If it's a nice morning, I set up the chairs and table on the deck in the back. Roll the canopy out for some shade. I cook up some whole wheat pancakes mixed with fruit. As soon as the first batch is resting on the plate, Gerri ambles downstairs, grabs her cup of coffee and the sections of the paper she enjoys, and heads outside. I pipe some music from the stereo in the den to the outside, bring the pancakes, and we have our breakfast.
And now it's over and I'm upstairs writing this and I can hear Gerri downstairs. It sounds like she's ripping plastic. I assume she's begun changing out the drawers in the kitchen. I can hear her. I can picture her in the clothes she was wearing this morning - her crooked glasses on, her little black slippers fraying at the toes. And these stupid sounds make my heart feel like it's going to explode inside my chest. I can feel the heaviness rise up to the bottom of my throat and threaten to either asphyxiate me or burst out of my mouth in a great heaving sob.
Because no matter what I do, how many books I try to read at once, how many movies I see or buy, how much music I listen to or how many concerts I see, how many pithy, witty comments I try to wrangle out every time I write in this thing, I am always avoiding the one thing I really began this blog to write about: my fear about going through this kidney transplant with my brother. Even now I'm pausing - it took about 5 minutes to get that last sentence out. I try to move around it, focus on taking pictures with my phone camera, tinkering around the house, even speak about it casually to my friends like it's no big deal.
It's always a lie. And that lie never rears its head higher than when I can hear my wife, just off in another room, doing something incredibly mundane, something that, if I never heard again would kill me. That's the thing I keep thinking about. What if I can never hear her working in the house again? What if this is the last time I see her bringing up the laundry?
What if this is the last time she passes by and just brushes her hand against my neck - a fleeting graze that never fails to tingle down my back?
Yesterday we made the decision that the surgery would take place next month - September 5th. When I told my mother she cried as she said "thank you." When I told my brother, he kept saying "thank you so much" over and over again. When Gerri and I made the decision, we cried for an hour.
I know millions of people have gone through the same thing, and it was fine. I know that by doing this, I'm saving my brother's life in a very real sense. I know the chances of something bad happening to me during or after the surgery are remote, and that if I ever needed a transplant that I would be moved to the top of the list. But none of those things seem to mean much when I hear Gerri talking to her sister-in-law on the phone about going shopping, or I hear her rummaging in the bathroom as she organizes her side of the medicine cabinet.
Sometime writing comes very easily, and the words pour out onto the screen. Sometimes the words flow out, but it's not easy at all.
We dance and sway, and never touch.