|Photo by Toni Frissell|
With My Final Breath
I stood for what seems hours, alone in our bedroom. The afternoon sun grazed my foot, then my toes, and disappeared across the floor towards dusk. I did not notice and only remembered it when I stepped into the water. I forgot to turn off my alarm. It will go off at 5:45am, just as it does every morning. Not that it will matter. No one will be there to turn it off.
I changed into my night gown. I had to remove the tags. I bought it for a little change of pace. For months I had been using a practical pair of pajamas and was warm and cozy. Jack lay next to me then. All was right with the world.
Our anniversary is on Tuesday. The steaks are in the refrigerator and they weren't cheap. It's a shame that they will rot. They will not be used. They will be be neglected. Only I know that they are even there. It was supposed to be a surprise. I'm leaving you. I don't love you anymore.
You would think that there is silence when you do not talk, when you do not hear another human being saying anything to you because there are no other human beings around you. Television and the internet do not count. They are merely numbers, 00 and 01, sequential and unfeeling. The new Kitchen Maid oven and your friend's sister's pictures of their graduation are not human beings. It's news or sales, not a hug or hand to hold.
I could hear my foot steps on the bare floor. And the breeze as I walked past the door to our bedroom. No. My bedroom. I made sure the burners were off. The faucet was shut. The refrigerator doors were closed. I liked that refrigerator. It was stainless steel. Just the one I wanted. I did not bother to lock the sliding doors to the deck. I did close them, though. I wouldn't want the sand to blow into the house. The wind was still for nightfall tonight. It only whispered through my hair instead of blowing heartily and happy as a sailor at sea. Even this betrayed me.
Our neighbors were not out. It was just another sign that I could walk to the shore line unencumbered by questions or voices. The sea greeted me with loving plashes and the foaming comforts of the waves, rushing in and out in a reliable rhythm. She didn't let me down; the ocean was still my friend.
I waded in. The water was still warm from a sunny day that held such promise. I lay myself down and the waters shut out the noise of the surf. Gently, tenderly, I felt embraced as I floated. The sky was not set. The waves were not yet harsh.
I breathed the cloudless blue sky and let my arms float to my side . They sunk down but there was no safety net, no rocks to clutch: only the bottomless water of the unknown. Like our first moments of marital promise, I floated towards a new beginning and left the old life behind.
From this day forward, Jack. In sickness and in health. I will love you always. With my final breath.
By C. Deanne
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