Chapter 12: Life Changes
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This chapter corresponds to 'Make Haste, My Beloved', Chapter 8.
Thursday, September 26th, 2005,
(Someday when you are an adult, you may ask me why I just called you that. I won't forget. Hah hah. On that day, I reserve the right to snort, and you may yell at me and whack me on the arm before you tell me you need bleach.)
You have grown. Your mother looks properly pregnant now, and everyone can tell. Her belly-button is starting to stick out, and she has this glow. As for you, you are fifteen inches long and weigh two pounds. Also, we think you like to dance, judging from the amount of kicking you do. Hey, I'll dance with you after you're born. Give Mom a break, please.
You know, I was thinking this morning about what a difference a week makes. A mere week ago, your Mommy and I were at home in Forks at our cottage. I would put my lips against her stomach and say 'Tigger', and you would go nuts. But I couldn't Hear you at all.
This morning, Bella and I are off to class at Dartmouth College. Yeah, High school seemed to last forever, but it's done. I can't wait for this day to start. Providentially, it's raining again. For sunny days, Aro has supplied me with a tutor named Morty. He's on sabbatical, technically, but in actuality, he's not well. The cancer is bad, and he's pretty scared. I don't know what kind of man he is yet, so I don't know what our involvement will be in his life. Time will tell, because nothing remains stagnant.
Most of your mother's classes are either early in the morning, or at night. Mine are all scheduled for after six in the evening. It's going to be difficult for me to spend so much time away from her; we've been inseparable all year, and of course we've spent almost every moment together since the wedding. My family has often attempted to tell me that a little space between mates is healthy. It doesn't feel healthy, it feels worrisome. I do hope to walk Bella to all her classes, especially since she needs protection from some Llama Bama Ding Dongs who are hooligans, living up to their frat-boy reputations. Of course, Bella and I won't be here very long. Before we know it, you will be in our arms and in all likelihood we'll have to take at least some of our studies through correspondence. Your Mom will be a Newborn after you arrive. I doubt I'll be parading her about on the Dartmouth Green. She might want a snack! Hah.
A few days ago, I Heard your voice for the first time. I've never Heard anything so pure, or so welcome. So I'm going to have to forgive you for occasionally having interrupted the marital affection that Mommy and I are fond of exchanging. Don't be so inquisitive! Suffice it to say, we know how to get you to stop kicking her now.
Stop saying 'ew'. You wouldn't like it if we weren't affectionate with each other, would you? If the mushy stuff squicks you out, though, we can loan you to Uncle Em and Auntie Rose. Hmm, then again, they're probably just as bad as we are. I'd better ask Grammie Esme to babysit you, instead. She and Granddad can contain that affection, as they've been married a while. Well, no, that's not really it. They're just more reserved than their 'kids'. They have to be, or else Carlisle would never make it in to work.
He's only 24. Deal with it. I have to!
The new house is great. The walls are plaster and lathe, which affords more privacy than drywall. There is a transom above each bedroom door, however, that lets all the sound in. Yeah, it's a genuine old Victorian. When Em and I first saw it, it had one of those old octopus furnaces that burned oil, and a 78 amp service. The foundation is sound, which is the most important thing. I think my mother would have loved it; it's red brick, with white lintels, and it has a turret of sorts on the front right side. You'll laugh, but there aren't any stairs in it. Esme thought it would be funny to stick a fireman's pole in the turret, since the whole thing was gutted when we bought it. And there are no bedrooms upstairs. There's a small office and the rest is all closet space. Each of us has a ladder inside our bedroom closet that leads to the second floor. Weirdest house ever, but it's kind of whimsical. Esme really blew the cobwebs out of it. Certainly, nobody's going to ask where four college kids got the money to buy it. It's not any more ostentatious than its neighbours.
(The neighbour on the right, incidentally, is an old sourpuss. Taking one look at us, she thought 'Cullenwood', after the Collinwood Estate in 'Dark Shadows'. She doesn't like me at all. She thinks I married your mom because I knocked her up. Then again, she thinks Carlisle is a bad influence on me. I wonder what she'd say if she really knew us!)
Esme initially wanted me to buy this big mansion out by the Connecticut River. I just couldn't see the point. This house is great. Besides, I get really tired of the intrusive curiosity of humankind, and humans just can't fathom four young people occupying a mansion.
Please excuse your old man if I ramble in these letters. I suppose you will think me a dinosaur for scribing them by hand, when I could be writing them on a computer and editing them as I go. Well, I miss the days when I would sit down with a thick, textured piece of paper and this trusty pen. It's getting old now; your grandfather Masen gave it to me when I started high school. I suspect he would growl if he saw the way the kids make their letters today. Good penmanship is becoming a lost art. Some of the kids in high school these days can't even read cursive writing.
(You will not be one of those kids.)
I digress, as usual.
I found this house before your mom and I got engaged. Well, I wanted to buy it and surprise her with it, as I was an idiot and thought –despite all words to the contrary- that she would be happy. You'd think, after almost nine months together, I would have understood her better. Right! I was anxious to ensure that Bella would be mine forever, and believed my mother's ring and a house might be the perfect way to mark her eighteenth birthday. Yeah, that didn't go so well. But everything worked out eventually, and I'm not going to go into it here. Yes, we had a bad time (have I mentioned that your mother and I used to be lousy communicators?) but since we reconciled life has never been so sweet.
So, how did we come to have the house, you may ask? Obviously, your mother and I did not get engaged on September 13th, 2004. And I put the house out of my mind. Not so, my brother Emmett, dear man that he is. He had an idea that I might still want this house someday. Auntie Titch and Uncle Jazz agreed with him. Em bought the house. I'm so glad he had more faith than I did.
Uncle Em and Auntie Rose lived here last year, beginning in December, so they could attend Dartmouth as freshmen. Bella and I were supposed to be seniors at Forks High. We missed a few months. Anyway, now we're here. Em wanted to give me the house as a wedding gift, but I wouldn't let him. He and Rose will likely finish their degrees here, unlike Bella and me. Plus, your aunt really loves the house, although she'll probably never admit it. She deserves a house of her own. They don't own any other property. Not only do Bella and I have the cottage, we have the house in Chicago, although I can't imagine ever wanting to live there.
I'll admit that I'm a little scared to go back. I'm not sure I want to remember what it was like to be Eddie Masen.
Don't worry about me. Mom will be there to hold my hand.
Hey, I had a pleasant blast from the past as we made our way across America. Have I ever mentioned Frankie Manning? Guy Lombardo? Frank Dutton? We stopped by the Lombardo Museum in London, Ontario, and visited with Frank. Bella and I danced for him. It got me thinking about Frankie Manning, you know? That guy was so much fun. He taught me so much about dancing. And people. I wish I could see him again.
Well, that's part of life. As you grow and change, you meet new people, and sometimes you lose old friends. It's the way of things. I fear you'll have to get used to it. We all do, some of us more than others.
While we're in this neck of the woods, I want your mother to see Boston, Cape Cod and maybe Martha's Vineyard. There probably won't be time to get to New York. That will be a trip for another time, when you're big enough to travel.
I might, however, take her up to the edge of the country, to see Eastport, Maine. It was Jem's patch. I miss him so much. Really. One of the best men I've ever known, and a wonderful friend. Peggy was a dear woman. Yeah, she was my landlady. And they got married, years after I went back to Carlisle and Esme. I got a real kick out of that. Talk about a December romance. I wish they could have met Bella. Well, maybe someday, in Heaven, we'll all be together again, and Jem will tell me I'm still dumb as a bag of hammers, and Laurie will just laugh at me, in that silent way of his, and shake his head. I'm pretty certain that friendships won't change at all, unless everything just gets… better. Sweeter, for not being taken for granted.
I used to think I was unchanging, that I was not truly alive. I used to think of my existence as being inexorable as the tide. You may have heard that expression. Well, people who don't know tides think they are predictable, unrelenting and dull. Well, admittedly they are unstoppable, but they are hardly predictable or dull. Maybe the people who think so have never have sat to watch the movement of the waters.
Tides never come in or out at the exact same time. One cannot predict when the tide will come in or how far it will reach, and thus people are caught unawares. Sometimes, this causes a bit of a thrill and gives the person a laugh. At others, the person becomes a victim of that tide. And sometimes the tide comes in quickly, at others, it creeps up on you. You have to be ready for it.
Also, it can leave behind these little pools, teeming with strange, unexpected life. The creatures may be odd or alarming, or they may be unimaginably wonderful and beautiful. It's endlessly fascinating. I wonder if God feels the same way, looking down on Creation. Only He made us; He won't ever walk away to do something else, leaving all those little creatures behind.
Yeah. The tides. Eternity. Love. Change and un-change. There's a beauty in it.
You're changing every day, and so am I. I'd tell you that my love for you will never change, but it wouldn't be true. It will get deeper.
Six-and-a-half weeks to go, little one. Such a short time, and it feels like forever. We shall meet soon.
I remain, always,