Empty Chairs and Empty Tables

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I look down at the speedometer and smile. "In the future of Alas, Babylon, cars are so fast they have to stretch out the signs a quarter mile so people can read them."

My wife looks at me quizzically.

"There's this part where the character is really in a hurry and floors it. ...getting up to 75 miles per hour. I just matched that."

A standard sized--and easily legible--sign whips past her window. I can't see Brittany's reaction in the dark, but I hope she's amused.

"You just can't predict the future, can you."

It's 4:07 this morning. I'm taking Brittany and the girls to the airport. The time has come for the girls to go home. And now, after over six months of booster seats and bibs, after a goodbye party with the family last night, we're left with:


Empty Chairs and Empty Tables

People have asked me how I feel about it. I wish I could say, but I can't, for two reasons:

  1. I don't know what I'm feeling, and I'm guessing it's going to take a long while to decompress and let my mind muddy through the murky waters.
  2. I don't feel good about it at all. But not because of some, "Oh, I miss them so," kind of sentiment. Something much less happy. And that, my friends, is going to take a long time for me to formulate a response that isn't completely negative.

How terrible is that?

Let me tell you: It feels pretty terrible. Much like the part in the song above: "[We] sang about tomorrow / And tomorrow never came."

But tomorrow did come this morning. It's just a present we never expected when we looked to the future a couple years ago. "Don't ask me what [this] sacrifice was for. / Empty chairs and empty tables..."

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Empty Nester

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