As I opened my eyes, the sun glared down through the open curtains directly into my face. "Ouch, too much light!"
Well that served me right for passing out on the sofa instead of going to bed like any normal person.
This was happening far too regularly for me to laugh off as silly. I sat up and immediately my brain started trying to process the reason I wasn't using my lovely, comfortable bed, with its cosy duvet and pillows...that still smelled like him. I tried telling my brain to shut up, but it was on a roll.
Waking up with him not there was like a brand new heart break every morning, I couldn't even hate him, couldn't rant and rave at him over the phone like some crazy person. Why? At this point, even my determined thought process faltered and didn't want to accept the truth. I had to go there though, maybe it would help.
He was gone from my life for good. Cancer. No symptoms, no illness, nothing; until it was too late.
We didn't even bother with drugs or chemotherapy, just spent time with family, close friends and each other. Even when the pain became worse, I took care of him at home. He slipped away one evening wrapped in a combination of duvets and my arms, with his family nearby. I spent 3 months specifically not saying goodbye. I wish I had told him one more time that I loved him.
"It's been 6 months and I still can't say his name, not in my head or out loud," I thought to myself then wrapped myself further into my duvet, burying my head underneath. Squeezing my eyes tight shut, trying to picture his face. I had to hold on to him. I couldn't forget.
I must have fallen asleep again as I woke again to a buzzing noise. Emerging from the duvet I looked around; then focused on my mobile, vibrating like crazy on the table next to me.
"Ah crap" I swore on seeing the caller ID. I picked up reluctantly.
"Hello" I croaked, my dry throat struggling to work properly.
"Jade? Jeez you sound rough. Are you ill?" said a voice that didn't really sound very concerned.
I cleared my throat and replied "Um, a bit yea. I had a rough night." A white lie, but oh well.
"Well you could have called in and let us know, you have had quite a bit of time off and...well...I know things have been tough but..."
I cut her off. "I'm sorry Mary; I'll be in after lunch OK?" I was not going to put up with her false sympathy more than I had to. She didn't care as long as I wasn't causing her a problem.
"Well, only if you feel up to it..." She replied.
"I'll survive. Bye now" I hung up; already cross with stupid Mary, with her whiny voice and nosy phone calls. I threw the duvet off, jumped up and headed towards the shower, with a quick detour to the kitchen to hit the button on the coffee maker. After stomping around for 5 minutes finding clean clothes and a towel, I decided pissed off was better than self pity. For now at least!
After showering, getting dressed, drying my hair and braiding it into a long plait that rested most of the way down my back, I managed to get rid of the worst of the dark circles under my eyes with make-up and then brushed on a little mascara. Had to make some kind of effort, had to hide my pain from the rest of the world.
After a breakfast of two coffees and a jam sandwich, I grabbed my jacket and keys and headed for work.