There is no more laughter in my home. No more crying. No more screaming. No more sickening crash of something valuable and irreplaceable shattering on my kitchen’s marble floor. Everything is quiet around here. Peaceful. Nothing but nature’s breath floating through my window with the breeze.
And I have never been lonelier.
Just yesterday a 29-pound bomb tore through my house with every intention of reducing the property value by at least $10,000. She came bursting in with the destructive zeal of an errant cannonball, and the noise level of twin 747 engines gearing up for takeoff.
She stayed for her regular two nights, never seeming to tire, never stopping to breathe. She tore, shredded, and rode like a donkey everything in my house, all while clutching her “baby” – an animatronic dog she bottle feeds water and lemonade. The total damage she accrued in the 48 hours was conservative (considering) but the psychic effects were massive.
When I put her to bed Sunday I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown. I had nothing left. If a junkie had hurled a cinder block through my patio window and set to ransacking the place I’d have let him. There was no way I could have gotten up from the couch, let alone grappled with the thug while he was peaking on a delayed PCP rush.
But the next day, after coming home to an empty house, my daughter’s favorite blanket on my bed the only trace that she had ever been there, I deflated. She’d woken up early that morning and I’d brought her into my bed so I could read Salem’s Lot to her while she drifted back to sleep.
Now, with her out of the house, I felt like a shell. I had to stuff the blanket back in the linen closet because I couldn’t bear to look at it.
What is my goddamn use without my daughter here?
Each weekend she drives me to edge of insanity – teeth gnashing, stroke symptoms, blindness – but when she’s gone I feel lonely in the purest sense of the word. It’s the kind of loneliness being in the middle of Mardi Gras can’t even cure.
It’s that special hole anybody with even a shred of money or celebrity tries to fill by checking into the Kennedy suite in the Bellagio and calling down to the concierge for four teenage call girls in go-go boots, three bottles of Patron, a garbage bucket filled with ice and limes, a half-pound of cocaine, two rolls of duct tape, a dozen live gerbils and a rhinestone crusted whip. But in the morning, when the FBI is using a battering ram to take down his door for lewd and lascivious conduct with a minor and forcible sodomy on a rodent, he can feel the bottom dropping out and all that sand falling away to re-expose that hole he had filled for a sweet, fleeting moment when he was being flogged by a 17 year-old runaway from Minnetonka.
Many don’t know where that hole comes from. Others do, but would rather not think about it. Which is why millions tune in each week to watch a dozen poor schlubs starve themselves half to death on an island in Macedonia for a suitcase full of money the bastard will have spent before the next season premieres.
But, I suppose it doesn’t matter much where mine came from – although I have my speculations. Most importantly, I’ve found someone who fills that void but each week I have to give her back and lumber around like an offensive lineman with bum knees until I can get her again…at which point I will immediately start complaining about how she’s eviscerating my will to live.
Several weeks ago she tore the blinds – with the rack that held them up – by swinging from them like Tarzan. In that moment, I would have paid a king’s ransom to see her waving goodbye from her mother’s back seat.
But the moment passes, and 24-hours later, after I’ve dropped her off in the morning, I, like always, drive away with a pain in my chest and a stubborn emptiness that, if you listen close enough, echoes a regretful longing.