A Thousand Times More Beautiful

The sun is in her blond hair while she steams the fish.

A long stemmed wine glass in her hand

An apron tied around her waist.

She is so beautiful

Her smile lighting up the kitchen and his heart

Her husband, a hunky German, as tall as he is kind.

Their kitchen table is long and inviting.  A farmhouse style table. When I see it I want it.  I want everything she has. The window that overlooks acres and acres of green.  The twin boys rough and tumble putting their dirty boots at the door, the dog running at their heels. She has everything.

My guy tells me that when he and the hunky German were in college, she made them spaghetti once a week.

She smiles at me from the stove.  She is like a young Goldie Hawn. Laughing.  Laughing. Laughing.

More wine.

More laughter.

Until the night sky grows dark and all the bottles sit empty.

The night my love drops a diamond in my wine glass, theirs is the first house we go to.

We can hardly wait to jump in the car and wrap our arms around them.  We call them on the way. We did it! We’re getting married!

We are wearing sweatshirts from the gap and my nose is running.  He had fancy plans to propose at N’awlins jazz bar on King St. but my runny nose…

So we sat on the floor of his living room and he just couldn’t wait.  

The moment we pull into their driveway I see the ground on fire but when we get closer I see

It’s lights.

She’s put dozens of candles on the ground in the shape of a heart to welcome us.  To celebrate love.

We celebrate until the night sky grows dark and all the bottles sit empty.

They visit us in Texas and we show them around, the kids are little and jumping all over the place.  We drive in the heat to the places that are important to see but none of it matters. We are just happy to be close to our friends.  

And then I notice just one little thing that makes me pause for just a second.  She’s back in the house to get something before we drive some more. In daylight.  In the heat. Something in the fridge. A little bottle she empties in daylight. ~

I’m sitting in my living room watching the snowfall.  The trees are covered and the fireplace is making a whirring sound. My 10 year old is upstairs coughing.  The teenager is at school in the city. My phone lights up.


You there?

Yes, what’s up?

(phone rings)

Things are really bad.

What do you mean

She’s in hospice.

What?

She was drinking again but this time it shut everything down.

We have to go!  We have to see her.  We..

And I’m choking on the lump in my throat.  And my nose is running. Running.

I just want to see her again one last time.

But we can’t.  

Because the window to the acres and acres of green are gone

And the bottles are empty

And their marriage is broken

And she is lost

And everything is sadness and loss and darkness.

There’s so much we didn’t know, he says.

Years we lived away

Darkness

History

And all those bottles sitting empty in the dark and in the daylight.  

But all I remember is

They danced at our wedding

They were “them”

A couple

They had twin boys with tousled hair and hockey dreams.  

A beautiful life

Summers at the cottage

And dinners she cooked for hours

For her hunky German

They had the life I wanted

A dog that sat at your feet

And a farmhouse table

Now she is in a coma at the hospice and my heart hurts for her.  For all of them around her. Broken. Broken. All those empty bottles.  Broken.

I hear my daughter sniffle upstairs.  Her cold growing bolder.

There’s nothing we can do, but sit and cry and remember.  

And I think of her standing beside all those pretty lights glowing in the dark, lighting up her smile.  See her laughing. Laughing. Laughing.

And I know that the lights she made for us, will be a thousand times more beautiful for her.  

When he comes to take her home.

His light and his heart, healing her, making her whole.