I just re-read Joan Didion's "Year of Magical Thinking" and realized I've had some of my own "magical" thoughts this year. Didion writes about how she can't give away her dead husband's clothes because he'll need them when he comes back. She can't move because her husband won't know where to find her when he comes back.
I haven't really indulged in thoughts of Mike coming back, but I was overcome by a strange feeling at a restaurant recently. I was having dinner at a place on the beach where Mike and I once ate. Then, it was a cold winter day in Florida. It was raining and we had just gone out for a drive along the coast. Julia was just over a year old. We stopped for a bite to eat. I remember running through the parking lot because it was so cold. We hurried inside and got a table and ended up eating the best lobster bisque. The inside of the restaurant was kind of dark with kitschy beach stuff on the walls. It was warm though. I didn't want to leave.
The other day, I was with someone else. Julia was there. We sat outside on a deck, shielded from the hot Florida sun. I could see the door that led to the inside. It was kind of dark with kitschy beach stuff on the walls. I couldn't stop staring every time it opened. If I walked through, out of the sun, would my old life be waiting for me? Would Mike and Julia be sitting at the table waiting for me, as if I had just gotten up to go to the bathroom? If we went out the front door would it be cold and rainy? Would we have to hurry to the car?
I could see it so vividly. The door was pulling me in. I wanted to go and see. But I knew I would just be disappointed. I had to stay focused. My old life was not on the other side of that door. No matter how bad I wanted. No matter how much magical thinking I did.