A walk through ‘our’ home;
My eyes open and I look to my right. Strands of your hair rest gently on an undisturbed pillow atop neatly tucked covers. I look around the room and all I see is you. Your things on the dresser, shoe on the floor here, it’s partner over there. But you’re not there.
I feel a void in my chest. I know I just took a breath but my lungs feel empty.
I walk down the hallway and pause at the laundry room. I remember us staying up all night putting the new floor in. The smile on your face when I brought home a new washer and dryer with more functions than most cars. But you’re not there.
The void starts to feel deeper, reaching my stomach.
Into the kitchen I go, walking past the kid’s chore charts on the wall. I see the kid’s activity dresser full of small knick-knacks, crafts, and crayons. I see the kitchen table where I am flooded with images of five little ones painting rocks, doing homework, and eating meals. I see the kitchen sink where long ago I cut a hose and soon realized I forgot to shut the water off first. We were soaking wet but laughed so hard. But you’re not there.
The void starts to burn.
Swiftly, I move into the living room and the silence stops me. I hear no music. I see no cartoons on the TV, no toys on the floor to maneuver around, no sheet forts hanging from the ceiling, no cardboard box castles cluttering the floor. I look around, again and again. But you’re not there.
The void deepens. The burning sharpens like a hot knife is about to pierce my flesh.
I rush down the hallway, one by one, checking the kid’s rooms. No one. feverishly, I look around, searching. I see the beds we assembled, the toys we have replaced a car payments’ worth of batteries in. I see flashes of bedtime stories, airplane rides, belly farts, and goodnight kisses. But you’re not there.
The void widens. A scorching, slicing feeling slides through my torso.
I run to the porch towards the front door, dodging all the piles of tools and materials for all the things on my ‘to-do’ list. I look in the small little corner you carved out just for you and a tear falls from my eye. I think about all the times I promised I would clear it all out and make you a little ‘mama retreat’. But you’re not there.
The void is torn open. A crushing weight is bearing down my chest.
I throw the front door open to see an empty spot in the driveway. I jump down the stairs and sprint to the backyard. Suddenly, I stop like a truck slamming into a brick wall. I look around and I’m immersed with memories of water fights, running through the sprinklers, bounce house parties, barbecues, homemade water slides, sled rides, building snowmen, and the laughter of innocence coming from five incredible children.
The void in my chest explodes. My knees hit the earth beneath me. The burning spreads throughout my entire body. My eyes struggle to search around. I’m crawling on my hands and knees.
But you’re not there.
Somebody help me. Wake me up from this nightmare. Tell me this isn’t true.
I look up at ‘our’ house and the pain is so excruciating as I realize it isn’t a nightmare. This is my reality. I did this. I destroyed this. I didn’t lose you. I drove you away.
Written By: Xxxxxxx Xxxxxx