(fiction) A page from a diary.

Dear Karen,

I am writing from the café where we used to meet every Friday. Across from the bed of roses where you took my picture with the blue shirt, the one I didn’t like because of the French guy in the back who you swore was in the picture purely by accident, and yet, it was my mug shot that was askew. I have ordered the same drink as always and a chocolate cake. You would never let me order the cake, but I’m, let me say… feeling like indulging myself tonight. I have an appointment in the next 30 minutes that I’m not looking forward to.

By the way, the waitress we both thought was expecting, as it turned out… she isn’t. She’s just putting on a few pounds.

Work is going… not so great. I’m not experimenting as much anymore and that is a bad sign. Interior office design sounds like a lot of fun, but really, the job is turning into 90% administration when you learn the ropes. It’s like when you told me about the classes you teach, how after a point unless the students don’t innovate and take you somewhere interesting, the lecture turns into a drive home and loses the magic of exploring a new city for the first time. Well, it’s safe to say that I’m done exploring.

Fast forward to a few years later and I’m sure I will be doing something different, following my passions… I, I need to be more like you though don’t I? More confident… set a better example for Joshua. I just need to wake up one day and make sure I’m ready. READY! Oh, coffee has arrived.

Joshua is doing well in school by the way. He always did have your smarts. He asks about you sometimes. I haven’t exactly told him everything yet. He thinks you will be coming back next month. I just never tell him which month. I think I’m being too cruel to him. Or maybe I am saving him from heart break? I can never tell. Mother reckons its time. I tell her he’s still too young. I can come to a coffee shop and try and live out our past memories and write in my diary… people look at me and think… ha! Another failed writer… and they may be right, or not. But what can Joshua do? No. He is too young.

The other day when I was shopping at the market, I saw this young girl trying on a red hat. She kept adjusting it and her hair… reminded me of the many times you’d do it at home. Joshua noticed I had gone quiet and asked me if something was wrong. Imagine that, 6 years old and he’s already thinking about how his dad is doing. I can’t tell him… no, not yet.

A young couple has just walked into the café. It looks like a first date, the boy is too polite. I wonder if he’s just shy. I wonder if we were like this once. Did I take as much care of you? They are holding hands. Maybe not a first date then…

Mother has sent me a text message. She has picked Joshua up from school. She wants me to meet a doctor, a psychologist who deals with loss. I laughed it off when she mentioned it, but she insists I go. And so here I am opposite his office. She has this idea that I’m never going to recover from this again. ‘How can you recover from this’ I ask her? ‘You get help. You talk to someone who understands’ I wonder if he’ll dismiss my feelings as depression over a dead spouse. It’s more than that though… isn’t it? What do you call the wounding of a soul, the harsh abrasive stinging loss of a love?

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