Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Fire that Burns

My wedding ring looks so beautiful on my hand.  I admire it often.  The slim gold band against my ruddy skin makes it bright.  I sleep on the back of my hands at night; pressing my cheek to my skin each time I shift back and forth on my stomach.  Every time I move my body, I move my hands.   From my right hand to my left, I open my eyes and look at the gold.  Sometimes I can see my reflection in it.  I always look sad when I do.

I can't imagine it not being there.  And, at the same time, I can't imagine continuing to wear it.  I will know the right time to take it off and put it away, but I don't see that happening any time soon.  It's this war, when I think about it enough.  It reminds me of him, and also reminds me that he's no longer with me.  Am I still married?  Or course I am still married.  But, on paper?  No.  On paper I am a widow.  Legally, I am single.

When I look up from my computer screen, I see an 8x10 of our wedding day.  I'm sitting, hand in his, looking up into his eyes with the biggest smile.  I can't even believe it was possible to smile that big, and to smile with my entire body.  He's on one knee, gazing down, his hand wrapped around mine.  His face shows calm, serene adoration.  It almost looks like his eyes are closed, with the reverent droop of his lids and tilt of his head.  I've never smiled so much in my entire life as I did the day I married TJ.  I couldn't stop.  Even when I tried to be serious during the service, I just had a smile permanently etched in my lips and cheeks.  So much that my face hurt by the end of the day.  But it was the most lovely pain I've ever felt.

The kind of pain that I feel now is constant.  Even when I think I have it at bay, the beast claws its way to the surface, making my eyes prick with tears.  I can never hold them back.  They pour down my face; two, three tears at a time from each eye.  As if they're in a race to see which will make it to my jaw, my chin, first.  Just when I think I couldn't miss him any more than I already do...

I talk to him at night.  Ask him what I should do.  Ask him to help me keep breathing.  At night, I panic.  Each morning, I wake with dreams lingering.  Realizing they are not real, and realizing I am waking up alone is torture.  Last night, in the last dream that I remember, he made love to me.  He held me tight, he kissed my lips, he whispered to me.  I was at peace in his arms again.  I want that to be real.  But it can never be real.  It's excruciating.  I feel as if someone has set me on fire, but I have no ability to move, or to scream.  I miss him so much.

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