Posts I guess


I wake up just before dawn with a start. This sometimes happens when he’s not in bed with me. I glance over at Joel’s empty spot in bed, note the laptop there, and gaze around the room. I slide out of bed, put a hoodie on, and walk out the door to the wrap-around balcony of the beach house we rented. Joel is leaning against the railing, peering blankly at where the water meets the sand.

“Joel?” I say softly.
He looks up at me. “She’s gone,” Joel whispers. His shoulders sag and he bursts into tears. I blink, stunned, still half asleep. I pad over and put my arm around him. He turns toward me and melts against my hoodie; I wrap him in a big hug as his tears soak the fabric.
I don’t say anything, I just hold him. His mother had been on hospice with liver failure after years and years of drinking. Joel had been waiting for his mother to get sober – and stay sober – since he was 5. He had taken it personally, that she just couldn’t get sober for him. He’d been in therapy for a while. But when she got the diagnosis, Joel knew she’d only be sober once she ended up in the hospital. It’s not the victory he wants.

We had scheduled this vacation months ago, and we knew the risk she would pass away during this time – but Joel said he wanted to go on the trip. He was tired of adjusting his whole life for someone who put alcohol first. He knew he wouldn’t get the redemption he needed at her hospital bed.

“What happened?” I ask after he calms down. I assume his half-brother Sam had e-mailed him. Sam isn’t a fan of long texts.
“Sam said she crashed, and they took her into the hospital, but she passed away.” Joel hiccups. “She died,” he adds, seemingly to himself.

I expect him to start crying again, but he doesn’t. “Do you want to go home?” I ask.
“No,” Joel says in a firm tone. “Sam is handling things. The funeral will be when we get back. We’ll gain nothing by leaving early. And I like it here.”
The sun breaches the horizon and begins to push away the deep violet sky.
“My first day without her,” Joel murmurs. “It’s over. It’s actually over. She’s gone.”
“It is. Do you want some time by yourself? or to come back to bed?”
Joel shakes his head. “I think I want to go for a walk on the beach.”

“Ok. Let me go put on some shorts. Come back inside and drink some water.”
Joel nods and follows me in like a puppy.

We have a drink, change, and go for a walk. We hold hands but don’t talk much. Joel needs time to process this. But somehow we both abate at this moment when the sun breaks through the morning marine layer, creating this backlit glow to these pink and grey clouds that is simply ethereal. The entire ocean glistens like molten glass.

“Wow,” I murmur. When I look back at Joel, he’s kneeling in front of me. Joel kneels asks me to marry him. I say yes, and the scenery blurs together.

Captions are fictional.


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