Can you hear me now?

We’re on different time zones and we can’t get a good connection. 

Loads of static. 

“Can you hear me?!”

“Can you hear me now?!”

CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?!

We are about twelve hours apart. I’m in New York and he’s in China. We have to yell. How else can he hear me? How else can we communicate? We are continents and oceans apart. 

Steve prefers the days and I prefer the nights.

Steve dreads the 8 PM. I dread the 8 AM.

He dreads the winding down. The time he is supposed to stop. The time we used to hang. The time we used to just talk about what we thought was everything and now is nothing. What is there to talk about really beyond experimental trials and research? And it’s depressing.

I think he dreads seeing me too. I get it. I’m not insulted. I’m not me. I’m quiet and sad. It’s depressing. 

And the day is full of chatter. This “Steve,” the one few have met, talks to Everyone. I mean everyone. He is always on the phone with every research institute, every hospital, every lawyer, every doctor, and here is the strangest part, every stranger. Now, this is not super odd behavior, but the timing is.

“Vacation Steve” has always talked to everyone. When we travel, he becomes a chatter bug, intrigued by every person’s story. He likes to talk to the bartender, the taxi driver, the man begging on the street. He stops for everyone.

This is ANYTHING but the case in real life. 

In our day to day, he usually has no time for extraneous. Milking every minute out of the day using his gadgets and tools.

And here he is with seventeen full-time jobs: work, Jacob, medical bills, insurance, our remodeling (we finally have floors. No furniture but floors.),  air quality testing, and the list goes on and on, but yet he has time for EVERYONE. He’s “vacation Steve.” It’s all a bit hard to understand. 

But yet I do.

He fears silence. He fears stopping. I just glanced over his shoulder as we sit together, but parallel. I just finished a work call and he is “busy.” He is watching videos of someone whittling wood. Someone doing craftsmanship with wood. He fills every moment of every day with sound. 

So he hates the night. He hates the “winding down” because he has to stop (that whole sleep thing) and he might have to think, or feel. He might have to feel.  That is dangerous for him and all of us. One because I know what feeling is like. I’m doing enough feeling for the both of us and its not a good place to live. It’s a lot of work. A lot of pain and love.  A lot of searching. It is easier for him to go go go. To research, to pay bills, to work. And we need him to do this too. So he just goes and goes. This is Steve’s new life. 

Over in the USA I am 12 hours behind.

Always behind.

I dread the mornings. I dread waking up. I dread remembering and knowing I have to do it all over again. Knowing what the day looks like for Jacob. That I will need to explain that we will be spending the next days in the clinic for 8-12 hours for chemo. That feeling “better” was fleeting.

And I will need to yell all the way to China to confirm medication dosages and my Mandarin is terrible. 

But we keep yelling over all that static.

“Can you hear me now?!”

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