Wednesday, October 27, 2010

RomanticVamp Week 23: Waking Up

Romantic Vamp

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Romanticvamp's Choice: Both

Waking Up

I heard my door open. It pulled me out of the semi-conscious state I was in. I quickly rubbed my eyes, trying to rid myself of any sleep. I reached out next to me, realizing his side of the bed was empty.

“Happy Birthday,” I heard him murmur.

I sighed, relief coursing through me. I pushed myself into a sitting position and shifted back against the headboard. He tiptoed in further. I felt the mattress sink under his weight. I snuck a glance, seeing his hands cupped around a single cupcake bearing a lone flickering candle, but I couldn’t seem to make myself look at his face. A smile pulled at my lips.

“Thank you,” I whispered.

“Make a wish.”

I fiddled with my blanket. I had no wishes. What I wanted was right here, but I didn’t tell him that. I simply leaned forward and blew the candle out.

“I’m gonna get ready.”

He handed me the cupcake.

“I made breakfast. Come on out when you’re done.”

I nodded, still staring at the cupcake, wondering if he had made it. He hesitated for a moment before slipping out quietly. I sank back into my pillows with another sigh. I smiled at the green frosting, removing the candle and biting into it. It tasted perfect.

He probably did make it. Figures.

I finished eating it, savoring every sweet bite. I quickly climbed into the shower, taking my time. As I rinsed the previous day’s grime away, I reveled in the hot water, thinking on my wonderful life. I was truly lucky. I had my . . . husband . . . a man . . .

I froze. His name . . . what was his name? What did he look like? Terror washed through my veins. I had the ring. Where was my husband?

I screamed.

I sat straight up, searching the sheets next to me. They were cold and empty as they had been for almost four months now. I rolled onto his side, burying my face in his pillow and fighting back tears. It barely smelled like him anymore.

I just wanted him back.

There was a knock on the door. Any tiny fraction of hope I had shattered. He never knocked. he just came in.

“Come in,” I called.

My best friend tiptoed in. She took one look at me and quickly moved to sit on my side of the bed. Her hand on my back was a small comfort.

“Morning. Happy Birthday.”

I choked back a sob.

“We have breakfast ready for you. Why don’t you get dressed and come out when you’re ready?”

I climbed out of bed, moving past her. I showered quickly, traces of my nightmare still lingering in my mind, and dressed for the day. I padded quietly out into the hall, following the smell of crepes to the kitchen.

I bumped into my big brother first. He smiled and wrapped me in an enormous hug. I clung to him, relishing the warmth and comfort I always felt around him.

“Happy Birthday, Mags.”

“Thanks, Sam.”

“I hope you like what I got for you.”

I glared at his bright smile.

“I told you not to get me anything.”

“You think anyone listened to you?”

I rolled my eyes and continued on to the kitchen, him following behind me. Allison looked up from where she was setting a bowl of fruit on the table. She smiled and came to hug me as well. As my best friend and sister -in-law, she had been a godsend.

“Are you okay?” she whispered.

“I just . . . I need a minute.”

She nodded. “I know you didn’t want it celebrated, but humor them.”

I looked back at my family, gathered to support me and celebrate my life continuing on. The whole thing made me feel guilty. I swallowed heavily and nodded, mustering a smile for her. She returned it, wrapping me in another, tighter hug. I blinked back tears.

She slipped behind me to Sam, stretching onto her toes to give him a kiss before whispering in his ear. He smiled, that smile that was reserved only for her. His arm encircled her waist, pulling her closer as she tucked her head under his chin. I watched enviously.

I darted for the stairs, climbing them to the top story of our house. The door at the top hadn’t been opened in several weeks. I hesitated before pushing it open and flipping the light on.

His desk was exactly the way he had left it: papers spread across each other, pens scattered everywhere. His old guitar was propped in the corner collecting dust. I hurried over to it and brushed the offensive signs of disuse away. The big armchair in front of his desk still had my book propped open on the arm, the place saved for absolutely no reason. I wouldn’t touch it and I wouldn’t finish it. He had followed the story through my retelling as I read and had been just as excited to see how it ended. Neither of us would now.

I moved to the floor to ceiling windows on the back side of room. It was what had sold him on this place. They were his favorite. He would sit up here and stare out of them, pretending to work.

I miss you.

The pain was still so sharp in my chest, but I knew I needed to wake up and go on, no matter how much I wanted to stay here and never move. I leaned against the windows, letting everything out and sobbing. My breath fogged up the glass in front of me. I stared at it as it faded away until there was nothing left, like some kind of warning. If I moved on, his memory would fade just like that.

Stepping back, I blew across the glass purposefully and then moved my finger through it. He was here and would always be. All I had to do was look and love.

The condensation faded again. I blew again and my words reappeared.

“I carry you in my heart. Always. I love you.”