There is now a large wooden bookshelf in the back of my living room where Rick's desk used to be. I'm sure I'll fill it up with books just like all the other bookshelves in my home.
I looked around the living room tonight for stray books to put on the empty new shelf. I emptied my "book basket," a large wooden bin that held about 30 books I have yet to read. I added them to the shelf. I found a few others lying here and there to add to the shelf too.
Suddenly, my eyes landed upon a thick book underneath the end table. I knew immediately what it was. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. The last book Rick ever read. More accurately, the book Rick was still reading the day he died. He never finished it.
I picked up the book and held it in my hands. The bottom of all the pages was water stained and slightly bent from when Rick had been reading in the pool. His bookmark was still in its place. I flipped to the page he'd last read. Page 733. He made it to page 733.
Atlas Shrugged is a large book. Rick was a slow reader. He had been reading the book for about a year. He kept on, always interested, telling me he sometimes re-read certain passages because they were so good he had to ingest them twice. Other times he'd tell me he would re-read passages to understand the full depth of their meaning. He thought Ayn Rand was brilliant and wanted to soak up the whole book, even if it meant he'd be reading for months.
Page 733. He made it to page 733. He never finished. He never got to finish. He will never get to the end.
Atlas Shrugged is 1168 pages. Rick read 773. I don't know why this makes me so sad, but it does.
I have not yet read Atlas Shrugged. Tonight, I wanted to read the last page that Rick ever read. I opened it up to the bookmark and was faced with a passage that helped me to understand my husband a little more. I would love to post it, but I'm pretty certain it's an important piece of the book, so I won't.
His life, like his book, will always remain unfinished.
My life is anything but finished. There is more to do, and see, and be. Atlas Shrugged doesn't have to remain unfinished for me either.
I put the book on the shelf. Maybe I'll read it some day.