This post is completely uncharacteristic of what is typically found on this blog, so bear with me. Just trying to branch out a little.
She woke up alone for the first time. She rolled over. And then over again. She shouldn't have been able to do that. She took a deep breath. He still seemed to be there. Had she not rolled into the indentation so foreign, yet familiar, she might have convinced herself that he was more than a memory.
She wept in the predawn light. Slow, rolling sobs, like lazy swells in a deep sea. Her thoughts floundered in that sea, unable to take hold of anything substantial, sinking ever deeper into despair.
Women in her family live forever. The men fade out, while the women paint vibrant pictures on an endless canvas. Although hundreds of seasons had come and gone, she knew she had much to paint. But her inspiration was gone. She felt as though all the colors had faded away along with him. She would never paint in color again.
She woke up for the second time, completely alone. She woke up afraid. The room had never been so quiet. There was no deep, steady breath to melt away her fear. She was unable to imagine the rhythm of his heartbeat, beating in time to hers. There was no heart beat, save her own.
She was afraid to clean the house. Terrified to sweep the last vestiges of him off the floor. Of wiping his last fingerprints from the bathroom mirror. Of scouring the impression of his lips from the cups. Of throwing away the last jar that he opened with his hands.
She was afraid to walk out the door. The fear of never returning home to him again held her fast. If she never left, she would never have to come home to an empty house. She would never have to go out alone. She would never have to shop for 1. She would never have to face the world with nobody to protect her.
She woke up alone for the third time. Anger filled her heart as the early morning sun stole its way into her room, splaying shadows on the wall. She watched the shadows slowly sink into oblivion, along with her fear and sorrow. The matching heart beat was still absent, but everything was illuminated.
Damn him for fading away so soon. His promises were rendered lies through his passing. His heart was gone. He promised it would always beat for her. His eyes were forever closed. He promised they would always look out for her. His lips were forever silenced. He promised they would always speak the truth to her. He was forever gone. He promised he would never leave.
She scrubbed the floor with wild abandon, her angry tears washing away the last remnants of a man gone. She made great streaks across the bathroom mirror, damp rag clutched in her hand, as though clinging to the last dregs of her sanity. She scrubbed every dish in the house, as though contaminated by some foreign, nefarious pathogen. She washed every stitch of clothing, and emptied every garbage can. She scoured his essence from her life.
She woke up for the fourth time, more alone than ever before. Again, she watched the shadows on the wall. As they made their slow journey downward, she felt herself descend into numbness. She remembered a time when everything was vibrant. She remembered watching the shadows until he awoke. He was her reason to get up.
She could see him sitting in the chair. From there, each day, he said the words that made every day beautiful. He said what only she had ever heard him say, what he had promised to say to no other. She could hear the words, as though a whisper from unseen lips.
She stood in a home that she owned, with no debt. He had looked out for her, even with closed eyes. Although silenced, she could still hear his voice throughout every room in the house. Although physically gone, every article in the home was a memory, was him. Her heart beat in time with his until he passed. She had but to listen to her own heart to hear his. Just as it had always been.
She woke up for the fifth time alone, but content with her memories.