I was startled awake, my heart pounding in my chest to the rhythm of the pounding on my front door that changed my life ten years ago. But this time it was just a dream. Or it would be, except that it still seemed very real. The ceiling fan whirled above my head, creating a light breeze as I lay quietly, trying to steady both my heartbeat and a head full of memories.
“Oh Jack,” I sighed out loud, to no one. “I miss you so much.” After a few minutes, I closed my eyes and pulled the lightweight summer quilt up to my shoulders. Because the hour was so early, I tried to drift off to sleep again, but I knew it would never happen. Instead, I watched the clock hands move ever so slowly.
Two hours later, it was only seven o’clock, but at least the sun was beginning to peek through the white wooden slats of my bedroom shutters on this mid- March day. I stretched out in bed, looking around the room. My recently painted pale pink walls were in sharp contrast to the crisp white of the shutters and the trim surrounding the windows. The vintage walnut sleigh bed was a wedding gift that Jack and I had bought each other fifteen years ago. The soft quilt, a wedding ring pattern, had probably been crafted more than a hundred years before our wedding. It was impossible to know its age exactly, but to me it was priceless, both for the symbol of a happy wedding and the memories it inspired of my early married days. A rare find when I was just starting my collections and my plans for an interior design shop to be named Marigold’s. Even though by then I had been made a recent widow, the thought of the wedding ring pattern still gave me comfort.
Despite the passing of a decade since Jack’s death, sometimes, like this early morning, the enormity of what happened seemed incomprehensible. It could have occurred ten years ago or ten minutes ago, the pain still seemed so immediate. I sat up in bed to gaze at a room full of memories. I could almost hear Jack whispering sleepily, “Love you, love of my life.”
When I finally managed to crawl out of bed and cross the old hardwood floor in my bare feet, I glanced, as I always do, at the antique cherry oval mirror above the chest. I smiled at the little girl who smiled back at me from within the mirror. She was wearing a pink sundress, pigtails, and half of a gold heart dangling on a necklace. I saw her so frequently that I wasn’t sure if she truly lived here in my house or just loved to visit. I named her “Lovey” because someone must be missing her, someone must love her.