December would have been Balthazar’s first Christmas. We bought a snowy owl Christmas ornament that functioned as his avatar, took a picture of Jasper next to it and sent it as our Christmas card. But we didn’t hang a stocking for him; that would have felt weird. I had never seen this item before. When I say the stocking was small, I mean it was baby-sized. Also, it’s June.
I picked up the stocking and carried it to the side yard, where my husband was weed whacking.
“What the fuck is this?” I asked, holding it up.
“I found it when I was clearing out the front,” he said. “You know how much trash gets thrown in there.”
It took him a second to realize what I was saying. “Oh,” he said. “I hadn’t even thought of that.”
I assumed that was why he left it for me, because he thought it was as odd as I did. But he had just tossed it on the porch as an interim step before taking it down to the trash bin.
I’ve said it before: I don’t believe in signs. And what would his message even be? “Mom, I’m here. Give me some candy?” I don’t want to make too much of it, because I am putting in a constant, daily effort not to be a crazy person. From little tokens left on the porch it’s a hop skip and a jump to séances in the dining room with Madame Blavatsky rapping on the table.
I guess what I’m saying is that Balthazar is always around, and in everything, from the book I’m writing to the trash in the yard. That’s as true now as it was the last time I wrote a check-in piece like this, almost one year ago.