Precious Past By Christine Swiderski

Precious Past

The cooing of Mourning doves gently woke me from a deep sleep. In the distance, I hear a car horn beckoning someone's attention. I looked past the frame of the window noticing the sun was in mid rise. A trace of remembrance whispered through my mind. My husband's voice was reminding me he loved me. A branch that should have been trimmed back from the house last fall scraped against the house, as the wind picked up outside. Looking at my wrist, the hospital bracelet with my name and room number was still attached. I rolled slowly out of bed, holding my incision. Having my uterus removed was more jolting to my system than I expected.

I could hear quite footsteps coming towards my door. A soft knock and my husbands calm baritone voice asked if he could come in.

I said: “Yes, Jerry come in. I want you here while I venture to the bathroom. I am feeling a bit light headed.”

Jerry came into the room, rugged and handsome as the day I married him. 20 years have not taken from him. Today I feel older and not quite wiser. Jerry seems to mellow with time. The gray is distinguishing on him. I wash the gray away with dark brown hair color, not wanting to appear my age.

After finally finishing in the bathroom I make my way to my closet to pick something loose fitting to wear. Jerry walks over and ever so gently cuts the bracelet off my wrist. I look up at him, until that moment I did not notice the fatigue on his face and frame. His shoulders were slumped not squared as they usually were.

I asked “Jerry are you feeling alright? You look drawn and pale.”

Jerry answered: “I am fine Mary, just need a bit more sleep.”

I nodded, pointed to the bed and said “Take a nap. You have taken such good care of me through this ordeal. Your time to rest. Now that I am dressed I will go to the kitchen and heat up some leftovers. I can handle it. You nap. I will sit in the recliner and watch House Hunters while I eat.”

Jerry smiled and said, “You promise not to over do it?”

I nodded my promise as he disrobed to his boxers. I pulled the covers over him, closed the blinds. As I quietly exited the bedroom pulling the door gently closed.

After making my way to the kitchen. I heated some leftovers. Carefully balancing everything, I made it to the recliner. The tv slowly came to life already on the station my favorite program was on.

Not realizing I had fallen asleep. It was dark outside. The house was eerily quiet. I got up made my way through the dark house back to the kitchen. I turned the light on, cleaned my dishes off. As I turned, panic started to rise. Jerry's truck was still in the driveway. I guess in the back of my mind I thought Jerry went somewhere not saying anything to allow me to sleep.
I went back into the bedroom where I had left him. He was not there.

I turned on more lights in the house and called his name. As I came back towards the living room I felt something drip on my head. As I looked up another drop came down landing on my cheek. By this time it seemed I was doing everything in slow motion. I wiped my cheek, what was in my hand appeared to be blood. My first instinct was to call 911.

The voice was a woman's voice. She sounded calm and reassuring. I repeated what I knew. She said a patrol car will arrive shortly. She told me to stay on the line. Simultaneously the car pulled up and Jerry walked down the hallway. He looked like a dead man walking. He collapsed before he made it to me.

The officers came in and went directly to Jerry. One officer turned and asked how long he had been that way. I repeated what I told the woman on the phone. One officer started to give Jerry CPR while the other called for an ambulance.

Jerry had bled out where he fell, a piece of glass was still embedded into the side of his neck.
He had been in the attic. I am not sure what he was looking for. The officers seen blood and hair on a beam. Also on the corner of a trunk. They asserted he hit his head then fell to one side hitting his shoulder which rolled him over onto a shard of glass. There was a spilled substance which later determined to be red paint that spilled on the floor.
I could not even cry at his funeral. Still in a fog of denial where I prefer to stay. Hoping he will walk through the door, proving this was all a nasty horrible nightmare.