A look that inescapably passes between two sets of grimly determined eyes; this look meets me in the mirror. I’ve nearly done with metaphors. March turns the page from my waning winter, one year after my rough demise. I’ve danced the ring of the room; I’ve drunk the punch; I’ve been giddy in the crooked rows of metal chairs. The band plays only feebly now. The stragglers drag their jackets. They don’t look back.
But still: the potted plants of this season might yet be purchased. The black earth might yield a bloom or two, fragrant in the feeble air of the struggling spring. I sit on the porch, as I have sat for years. I dare not deceive myself. Pretense might have once been possible, but not again, not now, not when the wind chime sings its quiet song and otherwise the air holds only silence.
My view persuades me that winter has ended. My heart has made no progress.
I go into the house, where laundry waits and the little dog looks expectantly in my direction. I think, I might as well have tea as anything else, and fill the kettle. The flame beneath flickers though the door has been securely shut to block the wind. I pay no attention. I’m used to seeing things which I cannot explain. When the kettle whistles, I pour the water. I wait for the tea to steep, and while I wait, I think about my spring planting, the work I did not do today, and my favorite curmudgeon. I remember, as I did earlier, at the cemetery, that we’ve come to the sixtieth wedding anniversary of my favorite curmudgeon and his lovely bride Joanna.
The thought of them cannot help but cheer me even though I miss them with a fierceness that I sometimes lament, a fierceness such as I still feel three decades after my own mother’s death. I can’t explain it. The losses weigh heavy on me. I still think about dialing my mother’s telephone number, and in the same way, I think, I’ll go see Jay today — before realizing that I can only do so by the stones at Mount Moriah.
For a few minutes, I forget my grown-up burdens, and think instead of Joanna’s sweet smile, and the little mischievous look that Jay would give me when he said, Let’s have another glass of wine, honey, which meant, I’ll have yours, too. My dear curmudgeon. Happy anniversary. I hope you and Joanna can waltz in heaven.