Wednesday I met with the lawyer for a Title search and to get a will drawn up, a hard lesson learned for me, I wanted to spare my sons, be better prepared for them. After that odious task he invited the boys and I for a pleasant time at the nearby Ice Cream Staduim And Emporium catty-corner to the the Creep County Jail. He had helped us out once when I had problems with a neighbor who was constanlty getting stoned and using our tree as a community toilet. I toughed it out the winking afternoon sun waiting for a study date. In reminisce I play it over and over again: I heard the kitchen drawers slaming open and shut. I told him to wait, that I would fix him a sandwich as soon as I put the groceries away. Rounding the corner I saw the knife clatter and bounce on the floor, and he was lying there ashen faced. They said in CPR class that I would most likely use this skill on someone I knew, just not him. With no sense of organization I pushed air into his mouth hoping I was doing this right, the muscles in my shoulders burned and shook long before the first firetruck arrived. Papers flying, shoving needles into his arms these urban doctors from the hospital refused to let me give up hope. Two years later of empty night trysts dreaming fearfully alone, reaching and not touching his arm for succor, no longer would I hear the comfortable sound of his snoring by my side. He walked on the ground I worshipped.
I've since cleaned out his side of the closet, donated his clothes and shoes, experienced the true smells musing around me in mirthless abstractions. Setting aside the bowl he jingled change out of every day. I wrapped that and his jewelry case carefully, painfully planning to give one to each son . Unable to bear the empty closet and so many memories, the boys and I decided to sell the house. The false alarm from the doctors of a cancer diagnosis had spurred me along. He always said he would out live me. He had never been sick a day in his life. With the dance of a woman's logic I berated him , damn you for lying to me and damn you for dying first! Now as an attempt to move on I decided to take a class at the nearby college and with some hesitation agreed to meet a classmate for a second time. Expressing how sorry he was for his tardiness I noted the young man's Tyrian purple dress shirt similar to the one I had wanted to get Ned for Father' Day. I had thought it would go well with his color, compliment his salt and pepper gray hair. The necktie he wore was a pearl gray with a small geometric designs shaded to match the hue of the shirt. I studied the shapes and thought an art class would be nice. As we approached the door his long arm swept leisurely around me opening the door. I became cognizant of his hand, it had been a long time since I watched a man's hands. Usually it was the first thing I took notice of. It was dynamic and full of energy and character, yet easygoing. Suddenly from this unexplainably sweet act I felt a real smile reach from the my tattered heart to the corners of my eyes.