Tuesday, January 11, 2011

By the Numbers

I'm 25. I'm a divorcee and a widow, and I never even got to walk down the aisle. I got all of the heartbreak, and none of the binding legality, none of the titles that give weight to the pain.

I'm afraid I'm going to be 90, on my deathbed, still in love with a 26-year-old. Still talking to him, still missing him. Still trying to find his scent in his old shirts.

And I'm afraid I'm not. I'm afraid I'm going to forget him, am forgetting him already. I'm losing his scent, his voice, his laugh. The way he spooned me, the way his stubble felt on my chin. I'm terrified I'm going to lose him all over again, more than I have already.

Before it was decided that I'd take all the clothes, there were a couple of specific shirts I knew I wanted, so we dug through all the laundry baskets to find them. Everything got mixed together, the order of it destroyed. (Believe it or not, there had been an order before we got to it. Kind of.) Dirty socks were mixed with shirts were mixed with towels. Now, when I pull a shirt out of the basket to smell, I go to take a big whiff, and instead of Irish Spring, Old Spice, and that indescribable Eric-ness, I get a big whiff of socks. Not so comforting.

Most days, most times, I block him out. It's the opposite of what I'd like to be doing, but it's the way I get through the day without crying. If I don't think about him, I don't cry. If I don't picture his face, I can't miss it. If I don't try to remember how it felt to hold his hand, I can't long for his fingers in mine. If I don't let anyone see how sad I am, I am not this sad.

We had been together for one year, two months, and five days.

He's been gone for one month and five days.

I don't know the hours. I just know it was the sixth, and I have a hunch it was earlier in the morning than anyone began to worry. I know he called his voicemail at 3:29am.

Chris called me at 3:47pm. And somehow, as soon as my phone rang, I knew. Because we'd been texting all day, and why would he call me if something wasn't terribly, horribly wrong? My whole life changed in those 2 minutes and 28 seconds.

I was watching the news one day, and they were talking about our most recent blizzard. Apparently, it's the most snow we've had since the infamous Halloween blizzard of 1991. (The fact that I was in Texas that year and thus missed the blizzard makes me feel like I lost out on a key piece of Minnesotan-ness. True story.) "Yes," the anchorman said, "we'll all remember where we were and what we were doing during the blizzard on December 11."

I furrowed my brow, checked a calendar, and verified what I suspected: I didn't immediately remember the blizzard, because the weather that day was overshadowed by a funeral.

But yes, the blizzard was large. It prevented me from having a luncheon with games and friends. It got me stuck at Chris and Alicia's with a group of very nice people who were nevertheless not the people I wanted to be with that day. It made me worry about everyone who was driving anywhere, any distance; I made my sister text me when they got to their hotel, two miles away. It made Jess and her large truck get stuck in a snowbank. It even brought the Metrodome's roof tumbling down.

One month ago today, we had a huge blizzard. One month ago today, I gave away two meeples, permanently. A slightly more exact month ago, I was writing a letter, the only person left awake in a quiet house; the cat at my feet was annoyed by the light.

I decided on a New Year's Resolution. Something a little more tangible than "have a happy year." Something I can do even if something terrible happens again. I've decided to write something happy down, every day. A sentence, a paragraph, whatever; just something happy, something good that happened that day. Because even on the worst days, there IS something good. So at the end of 2011, I will have a list of 365 good things.

Today, I didn't leave the house, didn't do any laundry, didn't apply for any jobs. Bad.

Today, I finished my Rock Band solo world tour on medium. Bad ass.


  1. You have a beautiful way of putting things. Please keep writing, I hope it helps you to preserve your memories.

  2. I don't really know what to say but I just want you to know that I'm reading and listening. And that you will never really forget. The truest parts of our memories of people stay with us.

  3. Keep Writing. It will come back to you as you need it to. Some things will become a little more distant than others, but you won't ever truely lose the memories that you cherish. I've noticed that when I really try to remember something, I can't. But when i think about a person and just let my mind wander, all of those details and memories of him come flooding back in. I can still hear his voice and smell his cologne. It's never really gone. As long as you still have love for a person, they are never really gone.


  4. Ditto what the others said. Your writing is wonderful.
    My dad has been gone for 31 years and when I read 'smell his cologne', by Kelli, it immediately brought the smell of Dads cologne to my nose. My biggest remembering sense is smell, and I can see why you hunt for his shirts and shy away from his socks (I'm sure some people would beg to differ). Keep on livin' Cindy, you won't forget, ever. The memories will dim, but they were/are a huge part of your life and they will always be there, in the intensity that you need to live.

  5. I love your resolution for the year, and if it is OK with you, I would like to try to make that my resolution as well. I know that we both had a really heartbreaking end to the year, but I am hoping that we are both able to start anew in 2011. Big hugs and lots of love!