What follows is a work of pure fiction. I have never experienced the particular series of events which this "letter" depicts. I just wanted to see what I could do with this particular way of writing a story.
It's been so long since I've seen you, but I don't think you are really gone. I still sense you here with me. You are all around me--I can still feel your arms, strong and sure, around my waist. I still hear your voice in the whisper of the wind. Our bedroom still smells like you, that peculiar combination of sweat and cologne that I wrinkled my nose at but secretly loved because it was a part of you. I still wear my wedding ring. When I look at it, I can almost see you sliding it onto my finger, there in front of all our family and friends, and I can never resist smiling.
I cried. I cried for a long time when you left. But it wasn't your choice, was it? You didn't ask for the state to renew that man's driver's license. They shouldn't have. He was nearly deaf, and maybe even senile. He shouldn't have been on the road. I remember his face so clearly--I saw him in court, after all. A withered old thing, no less than seventy-five. Maybe even older. He was confused. He barely remembered having hit your car at all. Oh, not all older people are like that--but he was. I cried, and for a while I blamed him. I was very angry at him.
But then, one morning, I woke up. Not so unusual. That morning, though, I could almost feel your sitting beside me on the bed, smiling your crooked little smile and looking at me with the big brown eyes I never could resist. I suddenly knew that if you were there, you would be teasing me, knowing just the right thing to say to force a smile onto my face. Whether you were really there (haunting me or saying goodbye or just hanging out, I don't know) or it was just my imagination, I never did figure out. But I began to remember how you always found the funniest side of a situation, always saw the good in the disaster. And I laughed, too. I sat there in bed and laughed at myself for half an hour. I had been so caught up in my grieving that I hadn't stopped to think. I had been letting your death destroy my world--but that was something you never would have wanted. Life could go on. And it wouldn't even be without you. Everything in the house, in my life, that reminded me of you had been driving me insane, but I resolved to think of the good times we had rather than the moment they told me you were dead. No matter how cliché that sounds, it works. I live, and I love you still.
So now, every morning, I get up and make breakfast, and I smile at your picture. I have pictures of you everywhere--in the living room on top of the television, stuck to the refrigerator with a magnet, sitting on the little nightstand next to my bed. I've even got one of those little wallet-sized pictures we had taken for our engagement stuck into the frame on the bathroom mirror. I smile at them all every morning. You always smile back. I go to work and remember what you always said about computers, that they'd be more trouble than they were worth if they weren't so handy. I come home and eat dinner alone. I know you wouldn't want me to be lonely, either, but I'm just not ready for dating again yet. I'm just fine the way I am. On your birthday, I fixed the chicken you always liked so well and baked chocolate cupcakes. You always liked cupcakes better than "normal" birthday cakes. Chocolate, with white icing.
Today it's one year since you left. I used to think that I'd be getting drunk tonight, finding a sort of uneasy peace in the bottom of a bottle. But I won't. You always hated it when I got drunk--not that I did it much. I would sing, I remember. Or I remember you telling me. I would sing and tell bad jokes, and although I'm sure you laughed right along with everyone else, I know it embarrassed you. So I won't get drunk. I'm going to write to you, and tell you how much I still love you. When the letter's done, I'll take it to your grave with some roses and leave it there for you. And then I'll come home and fix a nice dinner and eat it by candlelight.
The only thing wrong here, love, is that I cannot promise I won't cry. I know you wouldn't like it, but I can't help it. If I had known, if I had guessed what would happen, I would gladly have taken your place in that car.
I love you, my dear one. Now, forever, and always. Our wedding vows said "until death do us part"--but I cannot help thinking that perhaps death has not parted us as much as we thought it would. Until I die, and beyond even that, I will love you.
Copyright Sara Fawbush 1998.
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