A life's love lost
The sheets, blanket and comforter were a sea of frothy chop in an otherwise tidy bedroom.
A ridge of mussed fabric, tan flannel with its block moose and bear print, hand-crocheted afghan (a gift from her mother) and a down comforter tucked into a sage-colored duvet cover. A patch of mattress, scooped from the crest of fabric, marked the exit of bodies.
The pile was cool, dusty.
From the recliner that he drug from the downstairs family room, up the stairs and down the long hallway, he gazed, haggard and alone, at the rumpled bed. And sighed.
A year has passed, 365 days and 14 minutes according to the chunky and expensive marine chronometer watch he never took off, since they’d exited the bed they had shared for six years. Slid from the warmth and into world.
“Today. Today’s the day.”
He said this every day, for the past 365 days, since the date when everything changed. Hiccupped, stopped.
Exactly 525,614 minutes had transpired since he had rose from that bed, happy and alive.
He slept first on the floor, curled up with the dog (which, after a few weeks, had found new digs behind the twin wingback chairs in the living room, confused and afraid of his master’s frightful whimpers) on the area rug covered by her bathrobe. It was nearly the last thing that still carried the scent of her – the citrus of her shampoo, the mint and eucalyptus of her body lotion.
Within a few weeks, he’d drug the recliner into the room, where he remained nightly covered in her bathrobe; where he had a view of the bed. A panoramic observation post, from a buttery leather chair the color of mahogany, of a life previous.
They’d made love that morning, 365 days and 43 minutes ago to be exact, where during their passion, they’d let the blankets drift.
She giggled as she got up, naked and flush, kissed his neck and skipped into the bathroom. He followed, scratched and grabbed her before she reached the white terrycloth robe. He covered her goose-fleshed skin with kisses, while she tried in her playful way to pinch and slap her way out of his clutch.
He remembered it all, the sights, the smells everything from that day. Burned into his memory like the blister of a hot pan etched into the recall of Formica in the diner where they’d met.
He’d managed to resurrect his life – pick up the pieces people politely and quietly mentioned – through the rest of the house, the rest of his life.
The bed was that one last holdover. A temple to their life together, shared.
A shrine to those final ecstatic moments of life, before the aneurysm dropped her dead into his arms.
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