When I was small, my mom travelled a lot for work. Once she went to Paris and brought me back this stunning black velvet scarf. It had all the colors of the rainbow woven into the pattern and was very sophisticated, or seemed so to my little eyes-- the fact that it was French making it all the more glamorous. I wore it constantly for at least two winters until I lost it.
Then she went to Cork, and the stories she told of the green hills filled with sheep stuck with me years later when I was deciding where to study abroad. I got my own apartment in that Irish city and had one of the best times of my life.
But despite the fact that my mom's travels were nothing unusual, every time before she left I'd work myself into such a distressed state that I became sick. There was an empty, hollow feeling in my stomach that resembled nausea, so I'd walk around the house unable to stop gagging. Once she was gone, I calmed down a bit. The gagging would, thankfully, go away, and I'd settle into my routine with my dad and little sister for the week.
Actually being alone was easier than sitting with the idea of losing her.
Pete leaves tomorrow, heading to New Hampshire for a week to work at his high school's orientation camp. And though I haven't felt that gnawing hollow feeling in years, here it is, back in my stomach, reminding me that I'll be without the person that feels like home, and I'd rather not be.
My body has such an interesting reaction to the absence of people.