Victoria M. Patton
My soul aches as I take in the sight of her. Sarah stands at the top of the stairs. Her fiery red hair cascades over her shoulders. The bottom half of her nightgown is sheer, revealing the well-toned shape of her legs. The white satin bodice clings to her; showing the rounded curves of her breasts. I am overwhelmed by my sense of loss.
Her delicate movements transfix my stare. She seems to float down the wide staircase, carrying a book on her way to the softly worn leather of her favorite chair. There she will read for an hour or so before falling asleep. This is her new ritual, her new routine. Ever since the accident she no longer enjoys reading in our bedroom. Instead, she prefers to sit in the living room, in front of the large brick fireplace.
She spends less and less time in our bedroom. I know she is lonely there. I hear her cries of how tomb-like it is. No longer a source of comfort, but a cold, cavernous room. The rest of the house remains unused as well. Except for the kitchen, where she occasionally fixes herself something to eat. Out of necessity, not enjoyment.
I come as much as I can, only staying a few short hours each time. But they are wonderful hours. I linger near her wanting to stay in her presence longer. Hoping Sarah will reach out and touch me; she doesn’t. I try to surround her with my undying love, yet she brushes me off. Refusing to accept.
“You’re right; I should have listened to you. I wish I had never bought that damn car, but you have to forgive me!” I scream at her, but the words hang between us. Unheard they fall to the floor shattering on impact like shards of glass from a car bomb.
She shakes her head, waving my attempts away as if she is waving away the summertime evening insects. If she would just hear me, I know she would forgive me.
I stand over her each night as she sleeps. I long to reach out and touch her. I want to carry her to our bedroom. I am physically unable. I will stay here until the early morning hours comforting her as best I can and as much as she will allow.
This night, a sense of dread surrounds me. Afraid of her reaction to the impending news. Her life is about to change again. And it will be my fault, once more. I spend the last few hours telling her I love her. I whisper in her ear words of hope and encouragement. Just before I must go, I say to her again how sorry I am. I tell her I wish I didn’t have to leave, but I will be back.
I take some solace knowing the time will come, that I will stay and never leave her. I tell her that, but I don’t know if she understands. I kiss her cheek. She turns her head away.
With one last look at the only woman I will ever love, I turn to leave. Even though my body rests in a watery grave, my spirit will live on in the eyes of my unborn son.