The three of us rode in the sheriff’s cruiser to the morgue, no one speaking a word the entire way.
We passed through the sleepy town where gossip flies high and fast, casting its droppings on the heads and in the mouths of its inhabitants.
I wondered what I would hear from the grocery store clerk who only had love for the juicy tales she intercepted, and nothing else. I wondered if the old folks at the bakery would infuse all of their pastries with the secrets and lies of the town that drifted in with the cold December air whenever the door was opened.
I wondered what they would say about what came of my parents…
What sort of eccentric tall tales, or truths, would penetrate the ears of everyone around me. I wondered if the man next to me, too handsome and kind for his own good, was capable of guarding and defending me against the plight that was sure to come.
I was doubtful.
Life and Death were taken from me.
When Life was taken – I was alone.
The world seemed to grow silent,
And everything looked fuzzy – as if I were only an observer looking through a filthy camera lens.
“We’re sorry for your loss.”
I wonder how many times they’ve said that to a woman half-reclined with a thin sheet draped over her bare legs and cold gel sticking to her inner thighs.
I could not help but look down in disbelief at the abdomen that would not be expanding any time soon.
Life was taken from me.
When Death was taken, I was at the hospital. The very same hospital in which I gave life two years prior, only now it was stained with the sterilized stench of Death.
I tried to smile when the nurse joked that the hospital-issue treaded socks covered an entire half of my petite legs.
I tried to reassure the well-meaning women who accompanied me that I was ok – when I really wanted to cry and scream and tell them they were poor substitutes for the husband who simply couldn’t be there to hold me during the taking of Death.
I was relieved when I fell asleep – only to wake up to a devastation that escaped audibly and uncontrollably from my throat.
Why did they have to see me cry?
Death was taken from me.
For long afterward, I would often reach down and touch the place that created and housed both Life and Death.
A new normality nestled itself against my existence.
Yet I still grieve the Death that took precious Life from me.