A typical weekday evening trip to Target (probably our second of the week), invite the bright halo of headlights before us to glare across our chilled windshield. Through the white blinding streaks, Jason timidly says, “so, today in our meeting…”
The crackling in his voice, his volume set at an atypical mellow timbre, sends my formerly benign thoughts to Sophia.
“…I told the others how you typically don’t go to my conferences with me, but you might go to the Las Vegas one, and they said ‘Of course! Why not? It’s Vegas!'”
My eyes fixated on the reddening sunset, glorious strokes of navy, cerulean, cyan, magenta, golden yellow paint across the increasingly darkening azure sky. As the horizon swallows the daylight, a heavy sigh escapes through my lips, the wisping air dragging with it the fear into the twilight: Fear that Jason was sad, fear that Jason had to deal with an undesireably awkward conversation, fear that Jason’s tender soul, and soft place in his heart for Sophia, had been tapped and left raw, sore, battered, and deflated.
“Steve said if he didn’t have kids, he would totally go too.”
There is was. The unintentionally soul-crushing words made in blind error haunt Jason’s tone, ending in a whisper.
“It made me wonder what we would decide about the weekend trip if we had our kids.”
Dripping with grief, Jason’s normally protected emotions leak through his black t-shirt, through his two-toned gray leather jacket, exposed like the entrails of a hunted deer. Sophia, and our two other angels, are his emotional weakness. They are his family. They are his kryptonite.
“I’m sorry you had to deal with that, Jason. You know other people who don’t know our story don’t mean any harm.”
“I know. It’s still hard.” The only words he can find leave me helpless, distantly wanting to let him know I get it. I understand that secret gut-wrenching pain that festers internally. Sometimes we escape a day, and can pretend it is abolished. Mostly not.
With nothing more to say about this revolving door of a conversation, the now darkened sky gives way to tiny twinkles, the stars send tiny beams of hope and beauty to our car. Arriving at Target, we fit snugly between the white painted lines. Grabbing my hand, Jason and I confidently walk in. We forget about that unintended hurtful comment by a co-worker. Or at least we pretend to.