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Empty Pillow

Love lost and found again..

My king-size bed is centered on the wall, directly beneath the window. It has a very hard mattress out of choice. The drapes are an odd shade of green. The bedspread and pillows are a deep maroon. There are two hanging reading lights over each side of the bed with a sort of buttercream glass shade. Each side of the bed also has an antique side table with two drawers that have a collection of odds and ends that usually get tucked into drawers out of convenience. 

There are also two pillows on this bed. One that hasn’t been used in a very long time. This pillow has become symbolic in my life. Like an empty chair. One less plate at dinner. A ticket for one at the movie.

For 38 years and 10 months this pillow held the head of the woman I chose to spend my life with. The mother of my daughter. The grandmother of my grandson. My partner in all things medical, legal, financial, physical, and emotional. It held the laughter, the tears, the fantasies, the groans, and the moans collected over nearly four decades. It even kept her scent as if a beacon of constant reminder. 

Over time, this pillow and I have made peace. It wasn’t easy. This pillow was a tough foe. It got inside my head. It led me to thoughts and realizations I was reluctant to address. My failures, my successes, my triumphs and my tragedies. It was this pillow that made me finally see that even the end of my nearly 40 year marriage was a triumph. Twenty years together would have been amazing. This pillow and I doubled amazing. 

Now this pillow is once again inside my head. Only now instead of smothering me in my own dismal loneliness, it offers me hope. Hope that this new person in my life will rest her head upon it and create new life within it.

She fills that emptiness in the pillow and in me. Her spirit makes me strong again, yet weak in her presence. I am an ember to her flame. A tear to her ocean. I am a breeze to her hurricane. A whisper to her scream. I am deeply, passionately, and infinitely in love with her. 

She has given me new purpose. Re-directed me. Made me realize that being an island is no way to live. She drew me from my darkness and gave me my desires back. Without even trying she inspires me to be a better man for her. 

I am an ol’ bear nearing the end of his time. I’ve lost my fair share of battles. I’ve suffered the scars and endured whatever life has thrown at me. Who knew that it would take me so long to learn life’s greatest secret, or that it would come from someone half my age and experience. 

It is because of her that this pillow beside me each night is no longer empty. I close my eyes and she is there. It took a long time, but as I moved over and rested my head on this pillow, now filled with her, it whispered its long held secret. I was finally ready to hear it. 

Loving someone comes with pain. Expect it. Being loved back makes the pain go away.

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