Only a Memory

I was sucker punched last night, square in the stomach. I did not anticipate the blow. I had no time to prepare. I can still feel the pain searing thru my abdomen. The struggle for air, the loss of footing all there, because of a memory.

It amazes me how easy we forget the small details that are woven into our lives so intricately. We hide them away, tuck them beneath the daily grind. We immerse ourselves in the present, letting go of the past. Or so we think. Then one day, a whiff of all too familiar smell, the sound of a song once written on our souls, a picture long forgotten, or a place once visited, brings the past rushing forward.

I did not have any intentions of entering the house of the woman I once loved as if she were my grandmother and not my husband’s. My feet had not stepped inside the door since she passed away last winter, and I had fully intended to keep it that way. The thoughts of being in her home without her there were too much too bare. I missed her…really missed her.

Like all good intentions, they are just intentions. There is no follow thru. They never take shape. They never take form. They are a falsehood. So, I should not have been caught off guard when I found myself crossing the threshold into Mamaw Verlee’s abandoned house.

I stepped into her living room and I nearly lost my bearings. I could feel her presence surround me like an Army invading its enemy. My eyes scanned the rooms. I looked for her everywhere. Then I saw her, bent over her sewing machine, long, gray, braid flowing down her back. I saw her in the kitchen at the stove, knees slightly bent from years of wear and tear, frying tenderloin and cabbage. I saw her at the table, kneading dough for dumplings, face all wrinkled from time and pinched from concentration. I saw her thru the window, on the front porch, watering her flowers, blue eyes shining against her leather tanned skin.

I wanted so bad to reach out and touch her, to take her hand, to hold her close. I wanted to really See her, to hear her voice. I wanted to will her back, into the present, but I could not. The present just has my memories and her future is in eternity.

I wipe my eyes and close the door. I step outside lonely and aching. I walk home. I make my way to the bathroom, close the door, and sit on the floor and cry. I wail. I sob. I let it all out. I shake it all off. I feel better despite myself. I still miss her though and I have since the day she passed. I’m sure I always will….