It was a day like any other. Somewhat cloudy, with sunshine peeking through. Almost mundane. All the memories washed away in the night rain, and when I woke up, I wondered if it was all a dream.
In these normal-seeming days, everything had fallen apart, crumbling down around me. I sat up and rubbed my eyes. There were no more tears left. Just emptiness. The house seemed to be haunted and I was the ghost. Almost mechanically, I showered and dressed, took the car keys and went out into the clear, clean morning. The sunlight irked me. It was annoying how life went on, when everything inside me had fallen in upon itself. The birds still chirped, the children still played in the street and the flowers of spring were still blooming.
The silver Ford whirred to life and I pulled out of the garage half-wishing I didn’t have to go to work. The pity was the hardest to bear. The hushed whispers, the sad glances- I could wring their necks one by one. But I made myself go. “Why don’t you take some time off- you know- to get back on your feet?” Lara, my boss, suggested. Vacation? Is she out of her mind? “Thanks for your concern, Lara, but maybe a little later”, I retorted.
It’s shocking how you’re never taught how to deal with loss. People edge away or make wide curves around it. The inevitability of it is looming and scary. And there is nothing that quells that fear. My friend suggested seeing a psychiatrist. She said talking about it might help. But words make poor ships when you’re drowning in your own personal ocean of sorrow.
The work day occupied me enough but it was quickly over. I went out and called to cancel the caterer and the photographer and took the wedding dress back to the store. The pert, old lady seemed disappointed. Not as disappointed as me. Maybe I should have shown it to Carl when he asked me to instead of sticking to stupid tradition. I headed to the local Starbucks and ordered some iced latte. I sat at the table and looked at it intently, contemplating my actions, while I took the medication the doctor prescribed. “You must,” he had insisted,” You need to get through this”. The pill made me a little light headed and to take it was always a hard decision. Carl would have forced me to take my medication, no matter what.
I weaved through the park not wanting to go back home. The cellphone was ringing. It was Mom.
“Hi sweetie, how are you doing today?”
“Not too bad”
“Did you take your pill?”
“Yes, mom! I promise”
“Ok, I’m coming over with dinner”
“Ok I’ll see you at home in an hour”
Sometimes I thought of suicide. Would it hurt a lot? But Carl would never have liked it. He had always wanted me to live up to my potential and that was exactly what I intended to do- to prove that I was a fighter. For a short time, he had filled my life with hope and love, with dreams and possibilities. And then just like that, he had been snatched away. It had been so unfair. He had never done anyone any harm yet that hadn’t stopped them.
At home, I found Mom, concerned and protective. She was trying her best to be normal. It was so easy to see through her pretense. “I made you some vegetables, sweetie, in the creamy sauce you like so much”. She forced a smile. I felt guilty. A mother’s heart is an expanse and it continued to bother me that she suffered my burdens.
I ate quietly while she busied herself about the house. When she was satisfied enough, she thumped down on the sofa besides me.
“Do you still dream of him?”
I shook my head to say no.
“Good. That means the pills are working. He was just a hallucination, sweetie, just something your brain made up. You know that, right? The doctor said the hallucinations would stop with time. You have to stop being sad and snap back to reality. You never really lost anyone.”
She would never understand and so I nodded along- and the face of loss smirked at me.
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