Today Esther tried to call Ian and tell him we won a free car. We hadn't actually won anything, but as much as I tried to explain the scratch ticket/flyer in our mailbox, which she scratched and got three diagonal stars, was a hoax, a trick to get people into the dealership, she wouldn't believe me.
Daddy will need a car when he gets home.
Ian didn't answer the phone in France, as he often doesn't, but, unlike how it usually happens, he didn't call back. After several hours, I had a moment of panic in the kitchen. While standing at the sink, I let myself imagine how much it would suck, how insanely angry I would be, if something happened to him, like, say, he died, while he was away from us. I took that fantasy far enough in my mind to get teary eyed. Pure, self-indulgent, macabre fantasy.
Waiting for someone you love to call you, when they are far away, is not my idea of a good time. It's not good for those who are born with a weak heart.
Now I might have an inkling of how my mother felt when I was off at college, or galivanting around Europe, not bothering to call home unless I needed money or I had just won some.
"Hello, Money.. I mean Mommy?"
Anyway, the phone rang in the midst of my melodramatic reverie. I saw Ian's name flash across the screen. I heard his voice and my whole body relaxed.
"I am glad you are calling," I said.
"You are," he said.
"Yes," I said. "I thought you were dead."
"I'm not dead, Betsy."
"You better not be," I said. "Because that would really, really stink. And we are counting on you coming home soon."
His final interview, as some of you know, is tomorrow. The interview, at the U.S. Embassy in Paris, is the final step on this crazy stairmaster from hell trip we've been on. It's a formality. After that, barring any unforseen, unlikely, circumstances, he gets an immigrant visa that will allow him entry into the United States.
He got his haircut over the weekend so he won't look like some crazy big-haired dude, or Kramer from Seinfeld, when he goes to the embassy.
"Your wife will be very 'appy," the French hairdresser said to him after she had lopped off his beginnings of a bouffant.
At this point, I would just be happy to have that head in my hands, so I can look him in the eye and tell him he is never leaving my, our, side ever, ever again.