That day wasn't supposed to end. It should have gone on for ever.
The day he smiled at me for the very last time. His beautiful smile. Dimples deepening and eyes slipping away into lines of sweet humour. How was I to know to that I would never see it again. If I'd known any better, I would have lingered on for a while, taking in the details. Savour over every feature, and commit it to memory. I did not want to forget. But I did not because I did not know. And now, I'm so afraid that I might forget. He's gone now. Taking with him every thing that held my world together.
He took the routine of us, wrapped it in bubble wrap and took them away. The good mornings, the hellos, the simply-calleds, the simple joy of watching TV, the soft comfort of predictability. He left behind the mugs that would never fill with coffee for him, but took with him my privilege of fixing him a warm drink. The privilege of fulfilling a wish, a want, a small desire. "Make me some tea?" "Bring me my towel." "Come a little closer." or even "Please stop annoying me." All of them, withdrawn from me. On that day that should have gone on forever. The day before he left. The day he would look at me for the very last time.
He folded my dreams into neat piles and tucked them away into suitcases. He folded his warmth, his smell, his weight next to me, his snoring, his tosses and turns, him embraces - everything that contoured and shaped my sleep and took it with him. And now I can't sleep. I can't sleep without my dreams. I'm afraid without them. I'm afraid without him. My dream that was mine to have and to hold. My dream that was custodian to every other dream I had.
He took my laughter and his. Laid bare the shelves and emptied the containers. I would never hear him laugh again, and that knowledge estranged me from mine. They were a pair - one shoe without the other, music without the lyrics, mine without his. Gaps of me that contained him. Gaps of me that he poured himself into. Gaps of me that would never hold him again. He was the ebb to my flow. The rise to my fall. The light to my dark. And now I'll be incomplete. He took with him everything that mattered.
That day that should have lasted forever, so pitiful in its mundanity. So painfully ordinary, that I thought I could turn my back. That I took my eyes off him, letting him out of my sight. That I allowed the air he breathed to be wasted. That I didn't hold him close, that I didn't tuck it away in memory boxes the warmth of his skin, the perfectness of his kiss, the rough of his stubble. That I thought I could work a little late. That I thought I was allowed the the luxury of taking him for granted; that I could fight with him if I deemed it fit; that I could plan next week, next month, next year. Make doctor's appointments for him, plan a party or surprise him on his birthday. And now, he's gone. Taking everything that mattered. Except that one thing. His love. He didn't take that away and nothing will. In it, I find my courage, my reason to go on, my strength. I'll always have it - just like I did before the day that was supposed to go on forever.
*Written for a friend who lost her husband after a year of love.