Sunday afternoons used to be my favorite time of the week. Sunday afternoons on a chilly, gloomy fall day (as much as I HATE the approaching winter) were even better. Right about now, Rick would be ready for a nap. He would’ve just wrapped up some work on the website for one of our clients after a breakfast we shared at our favorite diner – him reading the New York Times on his iPad and me working diligently on the puzzle sitting across from him in our regular booth.
We would’ve run an errand or two after breakfast – probably had to pick up something at the local Home Depot for some home-improvement project. Then we would’ve returned home, each of us retreating to our individual offices across the hall from each other to work on some unfinished business or bills, or just to fool around a little bit online.
And then I’d hear the yawning and the stretching and the groaning coming from his office and I’d hear him rise from his chair. I’d feel him coming towards me to lean over and see what I was doing on my monitor, hug me from behind and kiss the top of my head. And he’d announce that it was time for his nap.
He had a cute habit of announcing things when he was about to do them. Time for a little snack, he’d say, or I guess that grass isn’t going to cut itself, things like that. So now he’ll probably say, Well, it looks like the big fella needs a little nap. And I’d hear the bed creak under his weight as he settled in under the covers in our huge king-sized bed in our bedroom across the hall.
No doubt, he’d be on his side, facing the window. The blinds would be open, so he could peer out at the colorful leaves on the Japanese maple outside our window. And even if it was chilly, he’d probably crack the window open a bit so he could feel a little breeze. He liked a chilly room so he could bury himself under covers up to his neck.
And I would continue to work a little longer on whatever it was I needed to finish. Well, I would try, but I couldn’t resist the urge to join him, whether I was tired, or not. So within a couple of minutes, I would stop whatever I was working on and cross the hall to join him under the covers.
As much as I hated it, I would be the big spoon. Because that’s how he liked it, and any kind of snuggling is good snuggling. So I would snuggle up behind his huge torso, fit myself perfectly to him, and put my arm around his waist, then turn my head sideways to rest it up against his back. And we would talk a little bit about everything and nothing. Or we wouldn’t. Sometimes we would just breathe in unison. Sometimes it was enough just to be.
And every Sunday afternoon we spent in that bed, we were both aware of how very fortunate we were to be in each other’s arms, to be together, to have found each other.
And today, more than two years after he’s gone, I lie here on a beautiful autumn day, flat on my back in the huge king-size bed remembering it all as if it were yesterday. Life has changed a lot since those days. A couple of weeks ago, I did something to my shoulder, probably hurt it by carrying around a 50+ pound backpack with one shoulder strap over my right arm. So on this particular Sunday afternoon, the only relief from the pain is to lie flat on my back in bed, which is not a good thing when your mind is prone to wander. So I think about things that used to be. I think about things the way they are now. I think about my job, and my plans, and my decision to redecorate our bedroom. I bought new bedroom furniture, a bit smaller and more feminine, because this bed will never be the same without Rick lying beside me and I need a change.
I think about the man I am currently involved with – the same guy I broke it off with a few weeks ago, but who I started FaceTiming with again after he moved away rather suddenly (my friends still hate him). I think about the two other men I’ve been talking to online who I’ll probably meet with in the coming weeks, and the guy who lives in northern Michigan who conveniently wasn’t available when I was in the area last week, which screams scammer to me. And I think about how every time a guy says he’s looking for a long-term relationship, it makes me clam up and realize I’m not. I’m not ready. I only began dating two months ago, and I don’t want to think about long term. I just want to get acclimated to this weird new life.
I think the bottom line is that – more than two years after Rick’s death – I still have no idea what I’m doing. Or what I want. Or what I even hope for. Because I still can’t get over what I’ve lost, and what I know I will never, ever get again. Oh, I’ve made plans for myself, and my home, and my writing career. And I’ve decided I’d like to try dating and spend time with the opposite sex, again. I may even find another man who I am drawn to and I’m open to the possibility that I may love someone again, but it will never be Rick, and it will never be what we had – and that’s what I want. I guess I’d better get used to disappointment.
So I lie here alone on my bed on this beautiful fall Sunday afternoon – the bed that will soon be gone – and I look out at the deep russet leaves fluttering on the maple tree outside the window, and I can hear only my breath now in the too-quiet bedroom. But I’ve decided that, just for a little while, I’ll let my mind wander back a couple of years to our special Sunday afternoons together – because what’s the point of having all these beautiful memories if I don’t take time to reminisce once in a while?
And when I’m finished, and the tears have finally dried, maybe I’ll take a little nap. And when I awaken, I’ll be back in the present, ready to figure out what my next plan is, and ready to figure out what I really want, since the first choice isn’t an option, but I still have some living to do.