Diary of a Widower

Daily entries by a husband, who stayed behind with his two sons

Growing at a standstill

MONDAY, June 14 – In Manhattan, long ago, Jenn had made a special trip to get them:  T-shirts with the letters E and S, which stand for two of the city’s subway lines. Eamonn’s was the E line from Manhattan to Queens: a blue and white circle on black. This morning Eamonn put it on and then took it off again.

‘Papa, this shirt doesn’t fit any more.’

Growing pains take no notice of a life that’s come to a standstill. Boys grow out of their clothes, get taller and older. Extending the distance between then and the moments yet to come. Jenn was 41 and would never turn 42. Sander was already taller than his mother and Eamonn was heading in the same direction.

But now, that moment of looking each other in the eye at the same height and cheating a bit with your toes is reserved for father and sons. There’s a future to look forward to. It’s only a matter of time, and already I’m wondering how we’ll look back on this period. In any case, it’s been a process of growth. Fortunately, catharsis does not stand still.

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