In 2007, just 6 years after 9/11, my step-son decided to join the Canadian Armed Forces. He was just 18, and had been living with us the last 6 months before deciding to leave, early in November, for basic training. The ‘war’ on terrorism was in full swing.
Watching documentaries today on the anniversary of 9/11 brings it all back to me, like it was yesterday. Not just that day in 2001, but the day, 6 years later, when we said goodbye to our 18 year old kid for an undermined period of time. We were ‘loaning’ him out to the Canadian Military, and all we could hope for was to get him back at some point.
There’s already dust on your computer screen.
Your room is so silent, I guess
because for the first time in months the computer is turned off.
I keep coming into your room, I guess
because now I can.
For so long the door was always closed. It was
your space, on loan to you while you lived here.
When I walk down the hall, I see your open door. I still
think of it as your door, your room.
It’s clean and it stays clean. All your stuff,
the stuff you left behind, is put away,
and no one touches it.
Your laundry is done. I did it all.
I am surprised at how many clothes you left
here. All those t-shirts you wore
so often, I thought you loved them.
I don’t know when you’ll be back, if ever, so I guess
this means you’ve really moved out.
I have had to learn all these new acronyms. CFB stands for
Canadian Forces Base. BMQ stands for Basic Military Qualifications.
I haven’t learned how to spell “Afghanistan” by heart, instead
I look it up on the poster
on the wall in your room every time.
Before you left, I wanted control of your room, to clean it, I guess
because it is part of my house. It drove me nuts
to see your clothes all over the floor,
dirty laundry, dishes, crumpled bedding,
because I couldn’t do anything about it. Now,
I have complete dominion over your space, and I guess
that’s why I keep coming in here.
Because now I can.
And it’s so quiet,
I can hear the dust gathering.