Lost in the Woods - August
The spell of relief I was enjoying lasted until 11:00 PM. Clint never could figure out how to adjust the alarm on his watch, and it beeps every night. It sits in the basket on his bedside table with his other stuff: his wallet and the little photo case he carried around with pictures of the people he loved most, the love letter I wrote to him on our anniversary last year, the resistance handles he used to squeeze, trying to keep his hands and arm strong, his checkbook (last entry in September 2004), his glasses and his salt and pepper shakers and his emery boards and the instructions for that fucking watch, the whetstone he used to sharpen his pocket knife, his pocket knife, the big red exercise band he used to work on his good leg, his walkman and some pens and pencils and the green tea stuff he put on his toenails. And some of those damned flossers he used all the time. Never did a man have cleaner teeth. He would fall asleep with them hanging on is lip, and I was more than once poked in the side with one when I rolled over to be closer to him. I took his things out and turned them over in my hands and rubbed them against my face, caressed them, smelled them, hoping for some sense of his presence. But he’s gone. My gut started to twist into knots and I felt as though some force were trying to pull it through my navel. I needed to breathe. I said to myself, “just breathe, try to breathe,” I closed my eyes and tried to suck air into my lungs but my chest was bound by some invisible girdle and my diaphragm was tight, pushing back as I tried to relax and let in the air. I stood and looked at myself in the mirror, and there looking back at me was a woman I don’t know, a woman I don’t know how to be, a widow, wounded and alone and terrified. Tears splashed down my face, fell on my glasses, ran down my neck. It's not that I don’t try. Hell, for the last two days I have laughed and shopped for my house, mapped out a plan to make it fit me, the woman who has to live without Clint. Shit. I thought that was healthy. I had fun with friends, did errands, put many of my things in order, made plans to clean out my closet. I guess it helped, but I don’t fell like it now. That stupid watch sent me spiraling back down to this dark place of pain and anger and weakness and uselessness. I had to go outside to breathe. It had rained. The air was heavy and I lit some candles and sat in the night and wondered how I got back here, back in the dark. The air was still and the flames made straight lines of light, reaching up, beaconing me to reach up and find some peace. I lit a cigarette and looked at it and crushed it out as hard as I could. Honey lay in the doorway, keeping me in her sight. The wind chimes were silent, but frogs and bugs and whatever creatures make noise in the night were chanting rhythmically, and there was some comfort in the sounds. My tears dried up, but the knot in my stomach still twisted, eating at me from the inside out. I wanted to be angry, but I hadn’t the strength, was washed out, empty. So Honey and I came inside and climbed back into bed. I don’t want to go to sleep. My dreams have been confusing and garbled, and I have been waking again thinking Clint is in the bed with me. I’ve even talked to him before I realized he wasn’t there. I can’t remember any details, just that he is in the dreams. I returned the basket to its place on the table with Clint's Golf World and his bridge books and his US Open hat.My eyes are tired but I think I‘ll knit for a while before I try to close them again.