The bridge holds steady. It never shakes or rattles, and it’s the halfway point between our two houses. When I think of the bridge, though, I only see it as a snapshot. I always forget about thechoppy dark blue water below in the winter, the smooth turquoise water in the heat of thesummer, and between, all manner of motorboats, pedestrians, and cars hauling kayaks.
It’s halfway between driving on and turning back.
Funny that it’s the same with you. When I think of you, I mostly see that photo of you with your son and his girlfriend, that’s on your dresser. The three of you were in a boatyard.
“What a cute couple they are,” I’d said.
“And what a cute daddy.”
“Now cut it out,” you admonished.
I also can picture you in your bathrobe, early on a Sunday morning, typing on your computer. Work to do.
I never remember you eating cashews and drilling the hole for the birdhouse dowel. You were brushing away sawdust as I turned up a song on the radio, “Music to paint by,” I’d laughed, then danced in your kitchen, holding the paintbrush.
I guess the photo of your son had reminded me of my son and his family. They had just moved three days away by car, forging their own life. Right now, I’d settle for being less proud of him in exchange for him and his family coming back, “Now, there’s no need to cry,” you’d said to me, wrapping a blanket around my shoulders. “We’ll go visit them plenty of times, you’ll see. I promise, you’ll see.”
Late that night, we listened to the howling of coyotes in your backyard. They were calling for reasons we will never know.
I left your house the next morning because the bridge’s traffic would be getting heavy later in the day. An hour later, I had just gotten back to my house, and already I saw you like a picture on a brightly colored postcard with clean edges. And I imagined myself getting a pen and writing on it, ‘XXX Wish you were here.’
Cyndi Cresswell Cook is a writer and photographer.