I saved my "ExtraBucks" from CVS lately, and bought myself a scented candle last night when I picked up my 4 new scripts. That brings my total for the month of May at 9 scripts. I always *love* (sarcasm) spending time deciding if I need to buy electricity or medicine each month.
But. I splurged and bought a $3 candle.
And my room smells nice. Relaxing.
Reminds me of the candles Wash would buy for me/us. Reminds me of the small signs he cared.
As I was walking home from the pharmacy last night, I realized with some quick math that Wash and I had walked that same stretch at least 600 times together. Probably closer to 800.
I could see the changes, like small photographs being flipped together. Winter, summer, seasons changing. Building being torn down and built up. The first few hundred walks, and then a Ghost Rider bicycle on the corner appears on 10 May 2010.
There are flashing lights, sirens. We are escorted to the other side of the street, and decide to walk home instead of further down the street.
It is now cooler, almost "cold" for Arizona. We are walking, hand in hand as always, Wash to my right side. He is wearing his "GEEK" black knit hat. He is laughing at something. His beard is thick, and I can see all the colours in it. Reds, blondes, browns.
It is a spring night. I am holding his hand with my right, and a bag in my left carrying Ginger Beer for us. He is walking slower now, but still laughs. There is a slight breeze, carrying the spiced scents of the Thai restaurants towards us. He is excited about his upcoming Stand-Up show.
It is summer now, and hot. Blinding. No more shade. Even the birds are standing in a single file row in the 4" of shade cast from a light pole. Wash is at home, no longer able to walk with me.
The photos blur faster. Rewind. I am out of breath pushing him in his wheelchair. We are trying to get early to "Wicked", our last anniversary present. Wash is angry and yelling, I am stressed and tired. Everything feels uphill at that moment.
Backwards. It is late fall. I am tired from work and moving. Wash is tired from moving, work, and school. He stops me from my load of laundry and pulls me outside. It is November 2008. We are on our first walk through our new neighbourhood together. His hand holds my right one. He is pointing out the styles of the apartments, townhomes, brownstones around us. He is wearing his work/welding boot and walking with large steps. I have to remind him to slow down, I cannot walk as fast.
Time ceases to be linear in my mind. It is past and present at the same time. Blank spots for the future. Images imagined of what could-have-been, what should-have-been.
He throws his head back, his neck long and scruffy with red tinged hair. He laughs. He smiles.
He leans closer and kisses me. I am flush with warmth.
I am home. The street is dark. The trees and front flowerbed across the street are gone, along with the kind older woman who tended to them daily, and spoke often to me about plants and gardens. The lights in front of my complex are different, installed a few years ago. The tree in our front yard is missing the large branch that a storm blew into my neighbours' bedroom window three winters ago.
Everything is different, and the same.
But I am now walking alone. The feeling of Wash holding my hand fades.
I walk inside my home. No longer "ours". He is gone. His welding boots are still on the shoe bench by the front door.
I light the candle. The scent takes me back in time again. I eat, I take my pills. I try to sleep.
I snuff the candle, but the smell hangs in the air, light, and comforting.
I am awake now. It is dark, still nighttime. I am hearing shadows of voices. Male? Female? Faint, but untraceable. My house is empty save for the cats and me.
I go back to my dark bedroom and hug Hoban tight. It is faint, but he still smells of Wash. The stuffed bear hold many hugs, and a small stuffed heart kissed by my Love when we had the bear made.
For the first time in weeks, I sleep.
I sleep, and I am thankful I do not dream.
The room is silent now, save for the typing and fans. My candle is lit again.
Tears are falling while I write.
There is a sense of emptiness. The last exhalation before a gasp and holding.
There is Silence.
I am Alone.
There is only physical self. Gaius-Wash is silent today.