After a lifetime of wonder and worry, it is apparent that death is not the end, but neither is it a beginning.
I frequent the old haunts, collecting dust among the cobwebs in the high corners, swaying with them in the breezes while she carries on.
She has changed. Gray has crept into once dyed, and highlighted hair, while the style has grown out. Quick, light meals have whittled away what was already a naturally small frame. She spends more time on the porch, less on the phone, more in the garden, less on the computer, more with my dog Roscoe, and less with her friends. She pauses in hallways as she moves from room to room, enchanted by outdated photos in outdated frames. She lies awake deep into the night, then rises before the dawn. The things she once teased me about she has become. She is contemplative, skeptical, aloof.
She and Roscoe are now fast friends. She even lets him into the bed at night, an abhoration just a short while back. He lays with his chin on her foot through the quiet nights and days, needing to keep her close. He was a good dog for me, and he is a good dog for her.
She is only happy when the girls come, but they do not come often. They do not like the changes. The changes in her. The changes in Roscoe. The changes in the house. The interminable silence.
They tell her the house is too big, that she can’t keep it up alone. They are right, but she will stay. She and it will fall apart together. Memories do not travel well and there are too many to pack, so she will stay, she tells them, and keep those memories company.
”But it is so sad here,” they say, “with Daddy’s things all around.”
But the things do not make her sad. They are her things, too.
Me? I am indifferent. Indifferent about the house. Indifferent about the things.
I am only eyes that hover here... watching her, and waiting.