Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Widower

Day 16 of StoryADay September.
The Prompt:
They had been married sixty years. She always did the cooking, laundry, grocery shopping, and cleaning around the house. He has just returned home after the funeral and finds himself alone to figure it all out for himself.

I buried Fran today. Yesterday was our 60th anniversary. Yesterday she died.

Alone. I am alone. It’s been so long since I was last alone that I am uncertain what comes next. So I sit.

The TV is on, but I don’t see or hear what is happening there. I see her. Moving through her day. My day.

Bustling. The word that described her best. Always in motion, taking care of the house, taking care of me.

I am hungry.

Fran would make me bacon and eggs. But yesterday happened. Fran is gone.

I walk to the kitchen, find eggs and butter in the fridge. I have to look in three cabinets before I find the pans.

I have forgotten how to cook eggs, if I ever really knew. They are burnt on the edges, the yolk still runny and raw. I eat them anyway.

I am back in the living room before I realize that Fran will not take my plate from the table. I start to go back, planning to soak the plate in the sink. I stop, laughing. It doesn’t matter. I won’t be here tomorrow. Let it sit there.

I turn, and head for our bedroom instead. I open the closet and reach up, pulling down stacks of blankets and extra pillows, scattering them on the floor. There it is. I lift down the box and carry it to the bed.

Sitting, the box beside me, I lift the lid. On top is the document. A single sheet of paper, folded once in half. I have seen so many of these, I do not need to open it to remember what it says.

It says that Fran was mine. To have and to hold. To be my life mate. For 60 years. Not a day more or less. She knew she had an expiration date when she signed. I just honored the agreement.

I move to the fireplace with the page in hand. I pull a match from the tin, light it, and hold it to the corner of the paper. It wouldn’t do for someone to find this later. I drop the burning page onto the grate, watching until it is nothing but ash.

I return to the box and pull out the other item. My reset button. Tomorrow I will wake in a fresh, new, twenty-year-old body. I will begin looking for my next life mate.

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