Since You’ve Been Gone
Stay with me.
Don’t fall asleep too soon.
The angels can wait for a moment.
—Westlife, “Written in the Stars”
You promised you would never leave me. Thirty-five years ago, I looked you directly in the eye and heard, “I will never leave you,” as we stood next to the ocean. And now, like a thief in the night, you go. No last words, no promises, no tears.
As I look back at that moment, I can still feel your hand intertwined with mine, each finger between mine, like an oyster shut tight against the sea, protecting the treasure it carries inside. But the treasure was in my belly, full of love and expectations.
We walked like tourists along Pier 59, a place we came to think of as home. Wind in our faces and a carefree spirit in our hearts. Gently you stopped and pulled my hand so I would follow suit as you turned; I could see your eyes full of love and complete devotion. I felt I could stay in that moment forever. It was this feeling, this sublime happiness, that I did not want changed or challenged. That’s when I turned to you and looked into those blue eyes as I said aloud, “I don’t want this to change.”
Your face distorted into a concerned expression as you tried to reassure me. “It will be different when the baby arrives; it will be even better.”
“It’s not that. I’m excited about meeting the baby and having it with us.”
So you poked at the subject with concern on your face, as you asked, “Then what is it? What don’t you want to change?”
“Us,” I answered blithely, taking in a large whiff of air through my nose as a source of strength for what I was about to request of you. As I looked out to the sea right in front of us, I said, “I don’t want to forget this feeling. I want to always feel this love and peace between us.”
You gave me that dimply smile. “We will always have it. And when we don’t, we will have the direction in which we want to go.”
As a sea gull passed close to us, landing in the water with a tiny splash, I looked at you and finally said what had been on my mind, the deep seed of this conversation. “I don’t want to lose you.” Once again, your easy laugh, followed by an enveloping hug, while you gave me the grin I’d come to realize meant, You’re hormonal. “I’m serious. Just promise me…”
Can anything good follow the best thing that ever happened to you?
Amelia Weiss loved her husband of thirty-five years very much, but now he’s left her a widow. Without him, she is unable to work in her sculpture studio without crying. She no longer has a bridge to her estranged daughter. And she can’t seem to keep her mind in the present.
But when her daughter reaches out asking for her help and her agent threatens a lawsuit if Amelia doesn’t deliver for an upcoming exhibit, she’s forced to make a choice. Will she reengage with her life and the people in it—allowing room for things to be different than they were before? Or, will she remain stuck in the past, choosing her memories over real-life relationships?
Thrust fully into the present, Amelia stumbles into a surprising journey of self-discovery.
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Genre – Contemporary Fiction, Literary Fiction, Women's Fiction
Rating – PG-13
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