Beep. Beep… Beep.
The humming of the conveyer belt is subtle. But what’s not is the sound of the scanner; the pattern of the beep is inconsistent as each item’s barcode slides across the horizontal window with the beaming red light. The produce gives way to those gaps. The number has to be keyed in, the tomatoes weighed. Then there’s a coupon or two.
I wait. My eyes scan the magazine rack.
My cart is parked at the edge of the belt. Empty though, as my few items have already made their way to the belt waiting to be scanned themselves. They’re parked behind the separation bar.
The humming stops. The click of the phone. The announcement: Manager needed on aisle 2 please, manager needed on aisle 2.
I look up, Aisle 2. Dang.
My eyes wonder back to the rack. Kim and Kanye this, Paula Deen that. My eyes wince at the drama. I still taste the salt on my lips, the sweat dried on my temples from my workout class a couple hours before. Just needed to quickly swing into the grocery store to pick something up for dinner. Holden’s been at his new school for a couple hours by now.
Not the ideal “quick” trip to the grocery store as I intended. Given this hold-up. However, I don’t mind or care as much as I would have before. As much as I would have cared in my old life, the life I chose to leave behind.
I’ve learned to not react in these little situations that are beyond my control. To not make big deals out of small things. I’m not about to pick up my items and move to another lane, and I hope the cashier nor the customer feel badly about the delay.
I’ve seen this situation play over tenfold before where it’s absolutely ruined the life of the waiting customer(s). And they made sure to let the others know it too. I try not to show disdain on my face, really I don’t have any anyway.
For if there’s anything pressing on my conscience, it’s the upcoming visitation weekend. And that’s all I’m thinking about. Another “adventure” to put in the books. See Visitations. It’s been all I’ve thought about for the past few days. I go through the same pattern every time. The anticipation starts, my nerves take over. It never fails, the day before we hit the road I have a breakdown. Like clockwork.
It happened when I was at lunch with my mom. Right before my quick trip to the grocery store. Deep in conversation about feelings about the upcoming weekend, and over Holden’s life so far. Two and a half years. When 98% of Holden’s time is spent with me, these couple of days spent going back to where everything did happen are reminders of what did in fact happen. All that we went through. I try to keep my head above water as the tears fall.
I’m not sure why the tears come these days. I guess I still struggle with the fact that Holden’s life is what it is: his parents are divorced. He will have visitations, and has had them since infancy. The life again, I never wanted nor intended for my own child. As difficult as this has been to come to grips with, I’m confident that Holden’s life is exactly how it should be- he is surrounded by nothing but love every day. He is thriving in his environment.
Furthermore, I struggle with trying to make sense of it all for him to understand. Who he’s going to visit. By now mostly everyone he knows has some kind of identity. Some type of knowledge about who every body is and isn’t in his life. Those he sees on a daily basis.
Not to mention how I worry. With every visitation, there’s new worry. They are snapshots within different developmental stages of his life. This one in particular breeds difficulty. Probably more for me than him, as always. But as he’s smarter now, and he has a memory. He knows when we arrive at the door this time that mommy is going to leave. He recognizes his other crib, his other toys.
But as I’ve said before, these visitations exist. For his exploration, his wonderment. To discover a relationship of which I’m not present.
Tears my heart apart when he clings to me. Cries. “Mama?”
Distract him with toys, snacks. Slipping away isn’t as easy this time.
I have to walk away. Force myself to close the door behind. It’s 48 hours. Like ripping off a bandaid in the realm of it all. Leave them be.