IMR: 1999: June: 09 —  Wednesday, 10:35 p.m.
Our Apartment, Makiki, Hawai`i

Three weeks home and I think I've only completely recovered from the trip to Hong Kong today. For once I didn't pass out at 8 p.m., or wake up at 4 a.m., or completely forget to eat lunch then get ravenously hungry at 3:30 p.m. (settling for cold, greasy fried noodle remnants at the sushi place downstairs).

[ Jen's Plane ]Jen and Katie are snoring in the bedroom. They've been home since last Saturday, but thankfully adjusted much quicker than I did.

I've found it hard to do much else besides simply be near them since we all became one happy family again. As it should be, of course. My high-strung, type-A self, which usually resents any moment not spent doing something, actually took a back seat to my inner mush puppy, and I reveled in simply huddling with them in bed, chatting about nothing, singing snatches of songs, tickling feet.

Frankly, it's beyond pathetic how much I missed them while they were in Florida. It had gotten so out of hand, I actually found myself at mom's one night, just gushing at her about how much I love love love my wife and daughter. I was like a grade schooler suffering from his first crush. But she's my mom! I mean, what the hell was I thinking?

Without them to come home to, I had absolutely no motivation to leave work in the evening. I had no motivation to cook, actually living entirely off bowls of Kellogg's Corn Pops for a few days. And when I did cook, I was hopeless. Rice for one in a picnic-sized cooker? I either got the world's worst tapioca or an ideal surface for driveways and pool decks. I spent entire days watching MTV, balanced my checkbook at least a dozen times, and even rearranged most of the furniture in the apartment before putting it all back the way it was.

It was bachelorhood all over again, but it wasn't even good bachelorhood.

But like I told my mom (!), experiencing that unexpected sense of emptiness, the agonizing loneliness, was good for me. Reaffirming in the most wonderful way.

With only 18 months of marriage under my belt, the 'newlywed glow' has by no means dimmed. But I think lots of people, myself included, subconsciously operate on the assumption that someday, things will cool, settling into the comfy chair of familiarity and contentedness. And in the midst of the daily grind — mine at work and hers at home — I dare say at times our domestic aura is indestinguishable from that of the stereotypical "old couple."

So it was refreshing to discover that gut-wrenching, cynic-sickening, Hallmark-shaming love still burned within me. The overwhelming longing and passion I'd felt for Jen that first Spring Break in 1994, the horrible pain of almost losing her two years ago, and the immesurable joy of making her my wife in November 1997... all those powerful feelings were still only a thought away.

I plastered my desk at work with pictures of my family. The sound of other people's kids laughing or crying would make me freeze and whimper. Sometimes I begged Jen to call me three times a day. Some nights I would lie awake until two in the morning, tangling myself in the sheets, simply unable to sleep without someone beside me.

And when Jen asked me to pray for them to have a safe trip home, I didn't give it a second thought. I turned off the lights, knelt beside the bed, and had an unprecedented heart to heart with a god whose legacy I once merely defamed and ridiculed.

Whether he answered my prayer or hers, they're both home and healthy, and I do believe I'm the happiest man on Earth.

© Ryan Kawailani Ozawa · E-Mail: · Created: 10 June 1999 · Last Modified: 12 June 1999