I didn’t cry when he died, or at the funeral, or at the reception. It wasn’t until the next morning when I went to the pantry and saw row upon row of canned vegetables, fruits and jams he had stocked for the long winter ahead. Tears rolled down my cheeks.
My legs wobbled and it finally dawned on me that he was no more. I closed my eyes and all I could see were flashes of the wonderful life that had just come to a screeching halt-
The last guest had just left as I closed the door behind me. My legs weighed me down as I walked past the chaos of the party. I headed off to the kitchen and wearily turned on the tap. As the water gushed out and soaked the dishes in the sink, I tried to focus on how the evening had actually been. Everything seemed like a daze as I was a bee buzzing from one niche to another, talking and serving food. I vaguely remembered a cheerful young man who tried to exchange pleasantries, but amidst the chaos, I couldn’t even return his smile. My thoughts hung in mid-air and the doorbell rang.
He was at the door, smiling, with a bottle of wine: “Hey! A glass of wine and a friend to help you clear the mess. Can I come in?”
I couldn’t help a laugh. His eyes twinkled and something in me wanted to let him in. He deftly rolled up his sleeves and we both set to work, laughing and chatting all night long. He knocked on my door at the right time and I ended up letting him in my life.
I lived my life in the sparkle of his eyes and the music of his laughter. Our days were so full of fun and fabulous surprises and it seemed like nothing could go wrong. Jake was my pillar of strength, my best friend who supported all my fanciful dreams. The magic ended as soon as it began: An uninvited guest, stealthily keeping track of his last days. The laughter faded away with each visit to the hospital.
I closed the pantry door behind me, leaving his scent lingering in the room. I didn’t know how to live a life without him. I rested my head on the cold marble floor and stared blankly into the nothingness that lay ahead.
I woke up to the sound of a feverish knock. I dragged myself to open the door; the hallway was empty. As I was about to go in, an envelope under the door caught my eye. It read aloud, Angel’s Foster Care. Inside was a letter congratulating me on the approval of adoption. I thought it was probably a mistake. My eyes fell on a small note attached on special request: “My love, this is our wish and your strength to live on without me. Take care of him and shower him with a lifetime of love and happiness..”
My hands trembled as I read and reread the familiar writing until I understood the gravity of his words. I couldn’t believe he remembered our dream, our plan from so long ago. I don’t know how he had done that. But I had just got a reason to live.
A knock on the door at the right time and I had let my baby into my life- to live, laugh and love with all my heart.