Ghost of Her Heartby Puck
there's a letter on the desktop
She'd always admired his handwriting. Neat and precise, like a type writer. Like him. She pulled the letter out every year on the anniversary, her own personal self flagellation. The paper was faded and worn, soft as velvet to the touch. She couldn't even read the writing anymore. It would have bothered her but she didn't need the writing to know what he had said. It lived in her heart.
and I start to feel the fever
She stood on the deck, looking out at the ocean. It was choppy, dark all the way back to the horizon. An early storm was coming in, just like it had that year. It had looked so clear that day. The calm before the storm. Dimly she heard the kids coming home from school, calling for her. It was normally her favorite time of day, when the silence bent and broke to the sounds of bookbags being dropped and snacks being fixed. But today she didn't answer and after a moment they stilled. They were smart kids, they knew what day it was.
and the Mississippi's mighty
At sunset she went down to the water, to walk along to beach and let the water tug at her ankles. Eventually she sat on a stone jutting out into the water, feet dangling, watching the darkness seep across the water. Far on the horizon the clouds were still lingering and as it got darker she could see flashes of lighting arching down to strike the sea. She wondered if that was the last thing he saw, darkness pierced by electricity. The wind got harsh and her thin shawl was useless. She stood and began a hike back to the house, looking back at the coming storm every few minutes.
and I guess that's how you started
After dinner the kids ran upstairs to do their homework and she sat in the living room with a scrapbook and went through it. The book sat wrapped in cloth up in a trunk in the attic. It came down one day every year for her to look through. The children had never seen what was in it. It was full of photographs, yellowed pieces of paper and newspaper clippings spanning almost fifteen years. Things about her. Things about him. Articles from when their relationship had become public. Engagement, wedding and birth announcements. Pictures of them and all their friends. The best years of her life lived between the cardboard covers, yellow and crumbling with age.
and there's not enough room
She still tucked the children into bed. Some things she refused to be too depressed for. They hugged her extra tight, her daughter giving her a kiss on the cheek. They didn't talk about it. They didn't want her to cry. But they showed their support the only way they knew how. When she left them they snuck into each others rooms to speak in whispers about the man, the father they barely knew. They knew how much their parents had loved each other, how they'd met, how they'd died. But whenever they tried to find out more their mother's eyes will with tears and they stopped, not wanting to add to her pain.
of all my demon spirits
When she finally went to bed she tossed and turned for hours, listening to the building storm and thinking about another storm, eleven years ago, pounding at her windows and tearing her heart. Around midnight the rain tapered off and there was utter silence. In that silence she was able to find sleep.
dark and dangerous like a secret
Hands slide over her skin, finding all the spots that made her gasp, and whimper and shiver. He knew every single one and just the way to touch it. His mouth closes over her nipple and sucks as she moans and arches beneath the onslaught, fingers buried in his thick, soft hair. He laughs against her skin, the air chilling the damp peak. He drops kisses down her body, across her flat stomach, whispering to her, telling her how beautiful she is, how much he loves her. She smiled and thanks him, tells him she loves him more. They argue, tweaking and stroking, trying to win. They were always so good at arguing.
and you kiss me like a lover
His mouth keeps winding it's way down until it's covering the place between her legs that's aching for him. He licks and kisses her there, encouraged by all her noises. He nips her gently, earning him a squeal. She starts to shake and he lifts his head, watching her with that charming little boy smile she'd fallen in love with. When she calms and returns it, it turns smug and she has to retaliate, pushing him onto his back to kiss her own path down his body.
and I feel it like a sickness
He tasted of the sea he loved so much, salty and sharp. He'd linger on her tongue for hours and she'd savor it. She'd suckle and lick him as he'd groan and thrust up to her. When he couldn't stand it anymore he'd tug at her hair and she'd let him go. Even when she'd grown to know his body better then her own she'd wait for that gentle tug.
and dance the edge of sanity
Love with him had been always new, always an adventure. And while she'd liked the unbridled passion and heat of him she'd liked it best when he was tender. He'd loom over her, arms wrapped around her so she was crushed between his weight and the mattress beneath her. They'd stare into each other's eyes, his blue ones dark and intense, like he was trying to see into her very soul. He'd move in and out of her so slowly, until she had no idea where he left off and she began. When it became too hot for him and she was twisting beneath him he'd reach between them and find the tiny knot of nerve endings and stroke it until they came together in a blinding rush. She screamed out his name.
you never know how much you
The orgasm woke her, jerking awake in her room lit by gray morning light. She was stretched across the bed, reaching for the lover that had been gone over a decade. Gone for eleven years and one day but if she closed her eyes she could smell him and taste him and feel him. She closed her eyes against the dawn and let the tears that had threatened the entire day before come, finally. They pooled down her cheeks, leaving spots on the pillow she hugged to her chest. He was gone, gone forever. Her empty future loomed before her.
now I see your face before me
She got up when the tears passed and dug their wedding album out of the back of her closet, sitting on her balcony to look at the pictures of them, together and happy. She tried to focus on the good times. Times when neither of them could ever have imagined what was to come. Usually it worked but now they filled her with doubt. What if she hadn't insisted on coming here to live? What if she hadn't used the ocean as a way to convince him? What if she'd taken the job in Charlotte and they'd have to move? He never would have been out that day. He wouldn't have been caught in the storm. He'd be alive, with her, right now.
as I burn up in your presence
She got the kids up and fed them, got them on their way to school. They didn't know the smile on her face was a strained mask and it was taking all her considerable inner strength to keep from breaking down again. When they were gone she went back and put away the scrap book and the faded note. The last thing he'd ever written, one of the last things he'd ever touched. She remembered coming home that afternoon, the kids in tow, one in a stroller the other toddling obediently at her side. She'd been grocery shopping. When she'd left he'd been sitting at his computer, in the middle of writer's block. She'd kissed him goodbye, he'd smiled at her. She'd asked him to come but he'd shaken his head, sure he'd have a thought any time. She'd left him there, face lit by the computer screen, a look of concentration wrinkling his forehead.
When she got home his computer had been off and he'd been gone, a note on the kitchen counter telling her he'd gone out on the boat, hoping the sea would give him inspiration. She'd been concerned, he usually didn't go out alone so close to dark. But the kids had been squealing and asking for food and she'd tended to them first. It didn't occur to her to worry until it was full dark and the first rain drops hit the windows. She'd put the kids in front of a Disney movie and gone out to the porch to look for him. He was no where to be seen. It was then she'd become afraid.
is the silence that I keep
She went out to stand on the beach again, wading waist deep into the water. She thought about it sometimes, just swimming out into the water and not coming back. Just going until she couldn't move any more, until her strength was gone, then sinking beneath the surface. It seemed so easy. Like sinking into his embrace had been.
But something stopped her. A twelve and a sixteen year old who could barely remember their father. There were a half dozen people who would welcome them with open arms. But none of them were their mother. She couldn't do that to them. She couldn't abandon them for her own reasons. Someday she'd be with him again.
She waded out of the water and back to the house and showered and changed. Then she went into his office, now hers, and turned the computer on. She stared at the words before her. Last year on the anniversary she'd opened the file that held his unfinished novel and had read through it. She'd started working on it, trying to finish it the way she thought he'd want it done. It was slow going. She thought sometimes she'd never finish. But she kept trying. For him. It had been his life, this novel. She owed it to him to finish it. To publish it. To let the world see his talent.
To let him live on, somewhere besides her own heart.
in love with your ghost