- ISO: 200
- Shutter: 1/250 sec
- Camera: NIKON D1H
It wasn’t the cup of coffee he quietly placed next to my near-lifeless hand to ease me into the day or the way he softly kissed me on the forehead as he said goodbye, murmuring words of love just in case I was conscious enough to hear them. It wasn’t the way he suggested supper at the Chinese restaurant we used to eat at when we were dating or the way he didn’t hesitate to give me three pennies to make wishes on as I passed the fountain at the mall. It wasn’t the comfortable monotony of me helping him pick out a new pair of shoes or him helping me pick out a new curtain rod for the bedroom. It wasn’t the way the afternoon sun scattered sparks of gold throughout his hair or the way his green eyes shone with more love than I can fathom sometimes. It wasn’t the way he kissed me before opening my car door or the way he brushed his hand against mine as we drove home together. No, it wasn’t any of these things, although I enjoyed every one of them.
It was the rose he left on the kitchen table this morning that made all the difference in the world. It was his simple rose, cut from the garden and lying next to the morning newspaper that stopped me in my tracks, broke the wall that I am so good at building but have such a hard time tearing down. So pretty, so delicate, so fragile. It has been so long since I have had fresh flowers that I couldn’t find a vase, but there, tucked away in a dark corner of the cabinet, I found one. There was a time when I bought flowers for myself. A time when I read decorating magazines and wore nice perfume and curled up in my porch swing to plan summer gardens. As we stood in our kitchen preparing lunch, chatting with the easiness that comes from a decade of life together, I wondered when I started denying myself the things that make me happiest. I spend so many nights alone in my office, falling asleep over my keyboard because I can’t sleep in my bed. My magazines tend to be work-related, as do my books. I rarely go out with friends anymore, seldom even call anyone.
The dreams that I had for my apartment when I moved in six years ago — the polished hardwood floors, the pretty paint colors, the rich fabrics and crown molding — all ended up tucked away in a drawer. Part of another life. Another girl. A girl I used to be. A girl I miss sometimes.
His rose spoke to that girl today and I heard her voice for the first time in forever, a faint whisper, tentative, but still alive. She wanted to put that rose on her nightstand and she wanted curtains for the bedroom to cover the naked window that she had planned to swathe in some beautiful, feminine fabric before… Yeah. Before life fell apart.
So I decided to take that girl shopping today. The girl who still dreams. The girl who still loves. The girl who still lives. I bought a set of curtains, the ones the rose is lying on in the picture above. I bought a curtain rod that screams Shabby Chic. I even looked at paint chips. I spent hours wandering through Target and Lowe’s, marveling at all of the pretty things, running my fingertips acrosss the fabrics, drinking in the sights and smells of a life I barely remember.
I needed this day off, in more ways than I can ever explain. I use work to lose myself, but finding myself is another matter entirely.
Music of the day: Maybe It Was Memphis by Pam Tillis (lyrics)
Ain’t Even Done With the Night by John Cougar Mellencamp (lyrics)