It's early morning now, most of Ireland is fast asleep. I would be too if I didn't have to get to the ship this morning. Our first voyage of the season is upon us. Lots of hard work went into getting the ship ready and now the real hard work begins. I was ready to do this for weeks, but now that I sit here in this quiet dark house with Gareth and our cat sleeping it's hard to leave.
Earlier tonight we made a nice steak dinner together and shared lots of laughs and joyful playing around with each other. We especially laughed when we went to bring the food to the table and found our cat already sitting in one of the chairs patiently waiting for his piece of steak. When Gareth questioned what are you doing at the table, he boldly let out a loud meow of defiance and stiffened his feet in his chair while licking his lips. Since we were shown who was the actual master of the house, we quickly cut him some steak and the three of us had a nice dinner together. We joked that we were a happy little family and that the cat, our son, got my looks and attitude, but has Gareth's hairiness and appetite.
After eating the cat took to his chair to clean himself before settling in for a nap as Gareth and I washed and dried the dishes together. The thought of my leaving was not far from our thoughts and our conversation turned from laughter and fun to confirming if I had this or that packed. I told him I had everything I needed. I reminded him to pay this bill or do this errand and he replied he had it all taken care of.
After the dishes we tried to watch a few programs, but neither of us were really focusing on what was happening. So we turned it off and put some music on and just sat on the couch as I leaned back onto his chest and across his lap. We sat silent except for the noise of the music, letting our fingers intertwine. Our wedding rings, symbols of our commitment to each other, glistened in the light of the candles.
I laid my head on his chest and could feel the warmth of his body as I listened to the sound of his heartbeat and each breath he took. At that moment I would have given up everything if he had asked me to stay and never leave his embrace. But that's not how life is and eventually the night ticked away until I am where I am now, sitting here in the quiet darkness of the living room already missing my family.
When daylight comes and the ship is out at sea, I'll be doing better. But for now I need to go wake up Gareth to drive me to the pier. I'll sit on the edge of the bed and watch him sleepily get dressed. His hair will be tosseled and out of place, which it usually is even five minutes after he combs it. He'll pull on his pants and a sweater and then sit on the edge of the bed and fumble with getting his socks and shoes on. He always does when he leaves in the middle of the night when called for work or to take me off on a journey.
All my stuff is already on board, so I'll just grab my cat and wrap him in a blanket as Gareth puts his coat on. We'll drive to the pier listening to the early morning talk radio programs, avoiding any music where a sad song could make things harder to say goodbye. We'll sit in the car at the dock for a few minutes kissing and leaning into each other. The cat will want to snuggle in with us and we'll do a group kiss. After a moment he'll hold the cat as I get out of the car and I tell the two men in my life how much I love them one last time before I shut the door.
The cold of the morning will start to chill my body as I walk to the ship and Gareth turns the car around and they head back to the quiet darkness of our home. Knowing Gareth, he'll give the cat his breakfast and then come and sit in this same chair I'm sitting in now. He'll find the card I left him and he'll read it and smile. He'll pull a blanket over himself as the cat comes to curl up on his lap. Before long the darkness of the night will give way to the dawn. Ireland will start to stir and awake to a new day. I'll be miles away by the time Gareth sees his first patient and the cat curls up for his afternoon nap and we'll begin to count the days until we're back together again.