This whole week has been a week with no answers. I guess that’s a good thing because I feel like if they have nothing to tell me then at least they have nothing bad to tell me and Joe must be the same as he was when I saw him two weeks ago. I am not the same as I was two weeks ago, though. I have tethered on the edges of heartbreak and hope. Some days when it’s sunny out and I’m driving with the windows down and my sunroof open, I feel hopeful and at peace. Especially on the days when I look up and see a hawk circling my car and there have been quite a few of those days. Then I feel like Joe or someone is telling me to be easy and just breathe. Other days, when it’s not so sunny, literally or metaphorically, I find myself pulling over on the side of the road to sob a body wrenching air gasping cry. There doesn’t have to be a good reason or a logical reason or a valid reason. Maybe I heard “Turning Page” on my phone as I was driving to work, or maybe I remembered the time we made promises to each other that we may not get to keep now, or maybe I just see his face and that amazing smile of his in my head and all of a sudden, I’m lost in this world. I know to most people it doesn’t make sense. I know that it is stupid to a lot of people for me to feel so strongly about a man who I hadn’t touched in sixteen years until two weeks ago when I touched him as he laid in a hospital bed. Hell, I can’t even explain it. I just know, to me it is not stupid. To me, everything I feel makes perfect sense just like it did the first day I saw him and fell in love for no good reason. And I know that even when I was out living my other life and “dating” and screwing around, I knew that when the time came, whether it was 8 days, 8 years, or 28 years that we would eventually be together. He didn’t want my life on hold. He just wanted to know I was there and I tried to be. And now as I face the reality of the situation and try to stay positive and tell myself that some people do come back from this, and he is more at peace now than he has been in the last 10 years, and that he was a miracle man before, he could be a miracle man again, I don’t know how I could go on without him. I don’t know how I could go on knowing that I would never get another phone call, never hear his laugh, never get another letter addressed to “the Queen” to make me laugh, never see another one of his scribbles at the bottom of a page. I know I’m being selfish by not wanting to say goodbye. But who really ever wants to say goodbye? I don’t even want to say goodbye to his brother when we talk on the phone. Mike and I were never all that close. We only talked a handful of times. I sent him some stamps once so he could write his brother and his daughter, but we weren’t close. The last two weeks have changed that. I’ve talked to him almost every night when possible and each day I find myself loving him more and more. Not the way that I love Joe, but he is such a close extension of Joe, it would be hard for me not to love him. It’s hard to not love somebody who is so much like the person that you’ve always been in love with, especially when they sound so much alike on the phone. But, that’s a catch 22 too, because he does sound so much like Joe and he believes a lot of the same things. They talk about the same books and some of the same ideas and while talking to him makes me terribly happy at the moment, it also makes me terribly sad, because he’s not Joe. And I find myself covered in guilt when I think of how easy it would have been to talk to Joe the last couple times he called, but I was working long hours and couldn’t find the five seconds it would take to put money on the phone. I know everything would have likely ended up the same way it has, but who knows for sure? And when I think about how I have found the time to talk to his brother now to make sure he’s ok because I promised Joe I would look after Mike if anything happened to him, I feel bad and guilty all over again. I know I can’t live my life running on the fumes of guilt so I have to talk myself into letting it go every morning when I wake up. Some days it actually works, others, like this morning and yesterday evening , I find myself flooding the river with my tears with no way to make it stop. And then the evening rolls around again and I sit by the phone hoping to hear his brother’s voice because it sounds so much like Joe’s voice and for the thirty minutes that we get to talk, I have my love back even if it’s only his voice I have.