I heard Rick say, "Arielle," and someone shook my shoulders harder. I woke up, sweating and bleary eyed.
No one was there.
I think Rick woke me up from a nightmare again. Like he did that night when I heard the noise downstairs and jolted awake to find the glowing photo frame. Like he always used to when he was alive.
I sat in the dark, in my bed, cats at the ready, my head still racing, but my heart comforted by the loving presence I know was there.
When the darkness settles and the light of my phone is a softness near my pillow, I contemplate so many things.
But most of all, I wonder if I will ever be loved again. The way I want to be loved. By someone who can wake me from nightmares and tell me it will be okay.
For now, I just settle into the sheets at night, phone close by, cats curled up around me... The echoes of the empty house are like sorrowful music. The empty half of my bed is vast. I know my strength and resilience...but I feel at loose ends. The unknown is scary. The grief is an unpredictable sea.
There should be a law against widowhood before age 30. It's the agony of widowhood at any age, but amped up on drugs or something. I'm like a fish out of water. Part of a weird little club. With the added burden of suicide to follow along behind me like a shadow...
I try to imagine a window opening to flood the shadow with light. I try to feel less alone.
So I thank Rick for waking me from my bad dream, I close my eyes, and I curl up with my baggage and fall asleep.