Sunday, June 13, 2010

Clint in Saigon

This is a photo of Clint when he was 35 and serving as a surgeon in the army in Vietnam. Clearly, he is soaking a few rays and pulling on a big fat cigar. But even with his sunglasses on, he appears worried, disturbed in some way. He told me a hundred times how operating on those young GIs changed his life forever, made him want to be a different person, live a life of more meaning. Hell, when he wasn't operating on GIs, he and his surgeon friend Prentiss Smith, frequently went across town and operated on civilians at the Seventh Day Adventist Hospital. I didn't meet him until 4 years later, but when I see this photo, I feel as though I knew him all his life.

I replaced another photo of him with this one for my laptop wall paper, and this morning I found myself running my fingers over it just like I did the other one. I wanted to touch his cheek, smell that cigar, somehow reach him, feel his skin. I didn't work, of course. I knew it wouldn't, but I couldn't stop myself. I still ache for his touch, his voice, his breathing the same air as me. I wept and wept some more - just like now. If all this crying is so fucking good for me, I should be happy as a stupid lark. I can't get past whatever the roadblock is that keeps me from conquering denial and anger. I'm working at it, and it's the hardest thing I've ever done, the only challenge in my life I have not been able to overcome. It's not news that I have major depressive disorder but even so, I think should be making more progress. And every time someone tells me I'm being too hard on myself, I agree with them (and I mean it at the time) but then something as simple as an old photo sends me back to "Start." We were so different from most couples. I know everyone is sick of hearing that, but we were. We were a barber shop pole: in constant touch and in constant motion and never letting go even when it looked like we were going in opposite directions. I suppose I will always miss having this wonderful man in my life. I can't imagine ever becoming accustomed to him not being here. I've started waking with the feeling that he's in the bed with me again, and I like it.

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