Gardenias

Daily Prompt:  You receive a gift that is bittersweet and makes you nostalgic. What is it?

I rolled from our bed, head throbbing, throat dry.  I struggled to open an eye.

Eight am.  Overslept again.

The past couple days have been a real struggle.  Let me stop lying . . . at least to myself.  It’s been weeks, no . . . months.  How am I supposed to do this? To get motivated. To face the day.

Finally, two eyes open.  A glance at the What Happens in Vegas . . . wall calendar explained it all.

Your birthday.

I nearly tripped over your wheelchair in my rush for the bathroom.  So caught up in the minutiae of death that the celebration of your life had escaped me.

Not quite.

You’d been all over my mellow yellow and purple dreamscape, taunting me with your smiles, teasing with your touch, your tantalizing scent.

Who was to blame when the record scratched and the purple bleached to screeching red? Baby James’ sweet dreams and flying machine in pieces on the ground.

Finally at the office.  I pretend not to see the side-eyed glares from my co-workers or the point glance at the clock from my boss.

I’d no sooner dropped my purse in the drawer when there was a knock at the door.  Karen from the front desk stood there, arms filled with a vase of gardenias.

The sweet scent quickly filled the small office.  I flushed with the joy, purity and love that radiated from each bloom.  I reached out, throat dry, eyes already filling with tears.  It could be no one else.

“The florist just delivered these,” she said.  “There’s a note.”

I waited until she moved out of the doorway.  I fell heavily into the chair and stared at your messy scrawl, really little more than chicken scratch.  I hadn’t seen it in over a year, so precious.

It’s my birthday and I want to remind you how much I love you.  There was nothing . . . barring the will of God that could have taken me away from you.  I know you’re hurting . . .  I know you.  You won’t let anyone help.  You won’t let anyone in.  But you’re suffering, Nyomi. 

And you better stop!

As long as you love me, we are one.  Though I’m physically gone,  we’ll be together again soon enough.  I can’t rest knowing that you’re wasting away.  It’s my birthday so do this one thing for me: 

Live.”

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