The first thing that came into my consciousness when I was awoken so early this morning was the rain beating, mightily, on the roof above. The room was pitch black and if it weren’t for the low glow of the alarm clock nearby – her clock, that clock, that sits on her nightstand, opposite from mine, the one I gave her years ago as a gift, the one she would plug earbuds into at night and listen to AM radio until she fell asleep, the one that runs an hour fast because I can’t figure out how to reset it – If it weren’t for this clock, now my clock, I could have mistaken the time for night. It read “5:04 a.m.”. So, I knew it was 4:04 a.m. – morning.
This rain reminds me of some far off place, where the whipping of the bamboo from the wind outside my window, transports me to some tropical island where I have never been – like the Tahitian background from a Gauguin painting. And, when it wakes me up, I feel it has something to tell me.
I listen to the symphonic fury of this collaboration of sound outside my window and it makes me smile. Yet, I can feel the vast emptiness that still lurks deep within my soul, make it’s way to the surface. And I realize, once again, just how much I miss my partner. I miss sharing this rain with her. I miss her lying beside me. The steady safety of her presence assured me that I wasn’t on this island by myself. And, with each drop that calls its presence into the now, it is a deft reminder that I no longer have what I once used to. And, now that all this time has past, I am starting to question if it even happened. If we even happened. But, I remind myself that it did, and we did, and that it has been one year, eight months, one week, and six days since she died.
It’s funny what grief can do.
I try to focus on the beauty of the moment, this weather – cleansing, purifying, and powerful – but the pressure on my chest, that burning feeling inside that creeps up in these moments of missing her so terribly, demands my attention and is louder than the rain beating against my windows. I turn over and try to sink into the gloriousness of my warm blankets and the plush of my pillow. Yet, in that very next moment I reach out to her under the covers, from behind, like I always did when I wanted to be near. But, I brush past my buttocks, as I fumble and make my way to where her hand might be, and for a split second I think, “That could have been her, fumbling, as she tried to reach out to me”. “No. It wasn’t.”, I think to myself, a bit more lucid. And, with my hand outstretched to where she would once lay, I imagine her hand in mine and I can see the beauty mark she had on the soft part, between her thumb and her forefinger, on the top of her hand. I see the length of her fingers and feel the largeness of her hand that would wrap itself around mine. It made me feel safe and I felt witnessed. But, no one grabs my hand. And, I finally feel the cold spot where my solitary hand lies.
I wait just a moment longer before I slowly retract it and tuck it back under the warmth of my pillow.
The cacophony of nature outside my walls turns into a type of white noise – this loud hum of silence. And, in the quiet of this of this room I can still feel her with me, on this tropical island, hearing the music from outside our window.
I stare in the dark, at the wall across from me, and I imagine that she is just on the other side of me if I turn around. I don’t.
I close my eyes, take a slow, deep, breath, and let the heavy drops from the sky lull me back to sleep.