The windows are ajar, sun’s light so warm and cooling as it burns light into my empty abode.
Sarah calls out to me, “Rosaline, Matthew is here. Are you well to entertain?” Her voice is so exhausting to my spirit. There is nothing more than I wish than just to lay in my bed, warmed by my loving sun and sheltered from the evil of life and mortality.
“Rosaline, your son is here to see you. Can he come to you?”
Leave me be, Sarah. I don’t wish to see Matthew, nor do I wish to see Penelope or Alan or those dreadful grands. I wish for nothing in this world but for to hear the cynical sounds of my love. My Allistair, why have you left me? Everything made sense with you, even the senseless. The most impossible became possible when you were by my side. God blessed us with three beautiful children, five decades of soul entwined bliss, and a lifetime of memories that now I must harbor and long for while my lifetime continues. Why, God, why? Why would you guide us through the toughest of storms, only to allow us to drown in the puddles? I know you don’t give us more than we can handle, but what is our limit? Mine has been reached and the weight is burdensome.
Oh, enough already. If my grief does not kill me, the sound of my sister’s shrill voice will do the trick. “Send him up, Sarah,” I say to her, almost too painful to speak.
The footsteps creak up the stairs getting louder as Matthew beckons up toward my bedroom. My goodness, his footsteps are just like his father’s; just as loud and clumsy as the day is long. It brings tears to my eyes to hear them, knowing that is my son, but wishing to God it was my dear Allistair returning to me. The door opens. In walks my bushy haired firstborn, locks so golden even the sun has to squint to gaze upon them. “Mama, how you holdin’ up?” he coos, sitting next to my bedside as I lay.
“I’ll be okay, baby,” I smile, mustering up the strength of the Hoover Dam to suppress the wave of emotions attempting to crack these barely sturdy walls. “I just miss your daddy is all.”
“He looked real good today,” Matthew said, pulling a handkerchief out of his pocket. “Funeral parlor did a fine job fixing him up. Wearing the Easter suit I bought him three years ago.”
“Yeah, your daddy loved that suit, Matthew. He said it was the nicest thing he had in the closet. He wore that thing everywhere. To bingo, to church, out to dinner with the Coles from across the street. Gosh, he looked so funny his pant legs rolled all the way up before he got out of the car. ‘I’m not getting these dirty,’ he’d say.” I had to stop myself. The minute I smiled, the minute I cried. I looked to my son, sitting beside me with tears in his eyes and I held his hand. “Your daddy loved you. You know that don’t you?”
He nodded. “I always thought Alan was his favorite. They used to do everything together. Go fishing, bike riding, football. He’d just look at me, pat my head, and walk on by.”
“Now you know your daddy used to always ask you to come play with him and your brother. You always had your head buried in a book or in one your school clubs. That man was proud of you. Bragged about you all the time at his poker games. His son, the college graduate and successful doctor.”
The tears started flowing down to his cheek, but he wiped them away before my hand reached his face to do so myself. I looked at him staring back at me, the spitting image of Allistair. The memories of yesteryear, when I had two little boys running up and down these empty halls and the screaming and clamoring of my sweet little Penelope, crying for her daddy to pick her up. Sunday dinners in front of the small color TV, watching reruns of shows whose names I can’t even remember anymore. Didn’t care much for TV anyway, but it was just nice to have the family together.
“Penny’s downstairs setting the table. Are you coming down to eat with us or do you want me or Alan to bring you a plate?” Matthew looked at me in a way that almost scared me. It was as if he thought I wouldn’t be long for this world either. It was in that brief moment that I gathered up enough strength to look my son in his eyes and told him, “Mama’s coming down. This old body hasn’t quit on me yet.”
He smiled lifted his head with glee. When he did that, the beaming sun lighting up my otherwise darkened room cascaded across that beautiful blond hair of his. It was a vision, seeing the man that so resembled his father showered in an aura of golden light. It was as though I was seeing the angel of my beloved Allistair, appearing to me as he was those 50 years ago when I had first laid eyes on him, strumming away on his guitar in that old tool shed by the park. I can hear him now, singing along to old blues songs while smiling at me. I just close my eyes and go back to memories.
“Mama, are you okay? You’re scaring me,” I can hear my son saying as I sat there with my eyes closed, listening to Allistair serenade me with old times. “I’m fine, Matthew. Go on and get down to the table. I’ll be there shortly. And get out the good china; nothing but the best for your daddy.”
My eyes still closed, I can hear his footsteps departing. As they grow fainter, so does the daydream. The door closes, and my eyes open back to the empty room. You’re gone, Allistair, you’re really gone. You left me too soon, sooner than I ever wanted to depart from you. All I want to do is lay next to you, be with you in the ever after and basking in your love. These years never waned my love for you, and it hurts so much to not feel it beside me. But it is here with me, isn’t it? You came to me just now, didn’t you, Allistair? You never left me… you used our son to show me that, didn’t you? He looks so much like you, Allistair. They all look like you. I haven’t stopped thinking about since the day you left this world, and I don’t think I ever will until I’m back with you. These kids still need me, Allistair. The family still needs me. I can’t leave them now, not when they just lost you. Wait for me, my dear, because I feel it won’t be long before I am with you.