It was the marmalade that brought you back.

I sit on my sofa eating your jam–jam bought for you–and I remember the morning after. How we drank the coffee you had prepared–for the final time. How we gathered your clothes from the floor–the last things you wore.

We put new sheets on the bed. I know we all smelled them, in private, trying to channel you somehow. Putting them in the wash was too final. I couldn’t do it and walked away. Instead, I rummaged through your coat pockets, as if I could find a piece of your there.

In the bathroom, I cradled the container that housed your teeth. Wondering if they were lonely for you. Or If they realized they were no longer needed. It seemed abrupt to throw them away like they were meaningless when hours earlier their disappearance would have caused tremendous stress.

The socks in your drawer lay rolled up for feet that would never wear them. Although I did bring some down to the hospital for you, while we waited for you to be gone. You didn’t like your feet bare, I didn’t think. But the nurse said they weren’t needed. You didn’t feel anything, anymore.

Your eyes remained open, but you didn’t see us. Could you sense us there? Did you hear our whispered good-byes and glean comfort from the tune your wife sang softly into your ear?

I grieve in seconds. Only allowing a few thoughts to come through. I don’t want to drown. I’ve drowned enough. But that damn marmalade. My cheeks were wet, and I still held my toast.

Counting the moments, you flash in my mind. Now’s not the right time for a meltdown. It never is. I grieve in seconds.

Any more would be unbearable.

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