| posted in: life 

In a few days I am scheduled to take a short trip, a mini-vacation if you will. Not counting funerals this will be the first time off and travel that I’ve had in over a year. Actually it has been closer to two years since I had any real vacation time. I know that the change in routine and scenery will do me good. I need to break out of the rut into which I have sunk.

But when I anticipate the trip I have some trepidation. This unsettled feeling occurs for several reasons. First and foremost this will be the first time I have flown without Michele in years. In December I took my first solo road trip in over 8 years and I found it very strange to be in the car without her. Several times during the drive to Illinois and back I found myself talking out loud to her in order to comfort myself. I am sure that going to the airport and getting on the plane will also bring up memories for me. I am very much looking forward to seeing my friends and spending time away from here, but I am not looking forward to the travel itself.

Secondly I am worried about my cats. I’ve always worried about them when ever we’ve been gone. I have to double and triple check their food supply and water, and I want to make sure that all the doors are wedged open so they don’t accidentally close themselves into a room. Michele understood my concerns and allowed me to express them. Nothing bad has ever happened to any of the cats while we were away but that hasn’t stopped me from fretting about it. My impending trip has me more worked up than usual since Nekko and Taz are all that is left of my family. Michele and I plus the two cats were a family, and with her gone I am acutely aware of the cats. The rational, intellectual part of me knows they’ll be fine. However, the emotional, animal part of me knows that life can change forever in a heartbeat. Leaving the house to go to the airport and then to Massachusetts for four days will be extremely hard.

Finally, just being away from my stuff will be difficult. When I was single, travel was easy in a sense because I really wasn’t attached to where I lived - I was nomadic even in my own home. Through my relationship with Michele I grew to appreciate a home of my own, a place that was ours and ours alone. Travel was nice in part because we ended up really looking forward to being home again. But travel was fun because the biggest part of “home”, Michele, came with me. This time she will travel with me in spirit, and in my heart. And the “home” I’ll return to will still be comforting, but it will also be empty.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Mastodon.