What a crazy place to meet. Going under that pier to retrieve the dog’s toy. Wasn’t the dog supposed to do that? Then running into him like that. Oh my word! So handsome. He was just so handsome. Hard to believe he was doing the exact same thing, getting his dog’s toy. And both red squeaky balls. How funny is that. My God that seems like a million years ago. So young.
I don’t even remember what I was wearing. Isn’t that silly? Such a silly thing to try to remember. What was I wearing? A two piece? Yes, it must have been. He must have been temporarily blinded by my head butt if I had on that hideous orange thing. I guess that’s what Mothers are for, to buy us ugly clothes. Too funny.
That first date. His cologne. I smell it now. He took my hand as I got out of the car and didn’t let go of it. He’s holding it now. Strong, hardworking hands. Such a long time ago. So many years. Together.
What about that car? The GTO. Oh, we had some times in that car. He loved that car. His high school graduation gift from his father. I would kid him that I wasn’t really his first love, the car was. He did ask me to marry him instead of the car though, so that was a good sign. He regretted selling it. But, it was his decision. I told him he could keep it, but with the baby coming.
It is too quiet! Why is it so quiet? I should hear beeping! I need to hear beeping! What is going on? I have to look. Eyes are so tired. Oh, okay, there’s the nurse. I see her. It’s okay. Everything is okay. Let me lay my head back down and listen to the thumping. It keeps me going. It keeps me alive. Keeps him alive.
We didn’t know what it was going to be, boy or girl. Daddy’s little man. That look on his face. When he held his son the first time. Our son. He just cried. He cried just like a little baby himself. I almost died when he pulled out “the box”. He had gone shopping. On one side of the box was a brand new Barbie doll, a little pink dress with matching bloomers, white patent leather shoes and a heart shaped locket that said Daddy’s girl. On the other side was a little pair of Brogan boots, the smallest leather tool belt you’ve ever seen in your life, a shaving razor and a brand new Hot Wheels GTO. I was overwhelmed. Speechless. Moved to tears. This big, imposing, rugged looking man showing such utter and honest love.
My back. Ouch! It hurts so bad. Time. What time is it? What day? Beeping. Good. Tired. So very tired. Did I call Race? Yes, yes I called him earlier. Update. Nothing new. So dark in here. I hate that stupid overhead light. It keeps flickering. You’d think they’d fix that for God’s sake! Aggravating son of a bitch. Let me get a hold of one of those bulbs and I’ll stick it up someone‘s ass. Stop! Stop it! You’re just tired. Just tired.
There was one time and one time only I saw this man crumble. This man. This pillar of marble. Invincible. I knew he was invincible. But when your best friend, your companion, your constant…dies. He would have been 98 in people years, at least I think I remember the calculation. Seven years to one, right? Not sure. The dog’s name was Piston. How appropriate. And black as oil just drained from a motor. Two peas in a pod. Piston could tell time just like a twenty one jewel watch. He knew exactly when his Daddy would be home from work. He would sit at the bay window. Patiently. Never moving a muscle. Listening. Straining to hear. Those ears would be a twitchin’ just like a bat. And then he’d hear it. The motor. From miles away. The very tip of that dog’s tail would start a waggin‘. Just the tip, not the whole thing. When the truck pulled in the driveway, you would witness the purest form of unconditional love. Sometimes I couldn’t tell who was smiling bigger him, or the dog. It left a hole in his heart when Piston died. A hole that can never be filled. One year later I did my very best to patch that hole when I handed him a solid white lab puppy, which he named Primer.
Meant to be. He and I were just meant to be. Family. Pride. No regrets. We’ve done our best. Isn’t that all anyone can do? You just keep moving forward. With your life. He has always been there. By my side. My hero. What if? What if? Oh God! I can’t think like that! I can’t. Stay strong. Be strong. He needs me. He can’t make it without me. How the hell will he find his clean underwear if I’m not around?
That time in the mountains. The motel. Sitting in rocking chairs outside the room with our coffee. Early morning. In the valley with mountains all around. Watching a veil of white. Ever so slowly the layers of mist danced up the mountain. Fingers of fog would hang in the folds of the mountain refusing to make their way up. My God that was wonderful. Quiet. It was so quiet. Rays of gold started warming our cheeks as the sun broke through. Revealing. Birds started signing, telling the world hello.
This doesn’t sound right. The thumping doesn’t sound right. His chest is moving to quickly under my head. Dear God! What does this mean? Why? Please No! Please stay with me! So much life left to live. What do I do? This is happening so fast. Were is the nurse? I don’t see anybody. Don’t move your head. Keep it down here where you can listen. Is he still breathing? Yes, there was one. In. Out. His hand is squeezing mine so tightly. I’m loosing him! Someone help me! Someone save him! Why aren’t they coming? His chest is filling. Rising. Breathing. Falling. Still falling. Empty. Silence.