I found somewhere deep inside my drawer of diaries (back from when I was still active with my writing) a notebook of stories; one of which with the above-mentioned title, I have proceeded to put up here. I honestly have no clue how you might find it but I would love to know your opinion. Thanks for reading! Enjoy!
Jenna Waite stared listlessly at the box of old music records that lay in front of her. It contained a lot of the Beatles and Elvis Prestley but also Bryan Adams, Madonna, Linkin Park. These were all the songs that Jack had ever liked. Only Jack would know how each and every one of these songs had made him feel but those emotions were now dead. Because Jack was dead.
She had hardly gotten used to being Mrs Waite. They had barely got through a month of their marriage. It seemed as though bliss had touched her life temporarily and then flown away from her forever. She had cried everyday since the day he had gone, but now as she unpacked slowly, she realized that her grief had moved beyond the point of tears. It was almost as if her brain knew how hard the agony of taking in the flood of memories these boxes were sure to invoke would be, and hence it had blocked everything out. She was glad.
She looked around her. The walls of their new house- her new house, she quickly corrected herself- were beige, just like they had both wanted. There had been no arguments on anything; a house in the suburbs, a beautiful garden, a porch and a hammock, a miniature basketball court for him and the guys and a studio in the basement for her. Everything had fit in perfectly.
Now she had years of life to look forward to in this house- but alone.
The recliner, the chairs, the T.V., the tables, their bed and everything else- still wrapped up in plastic and she didn’t want to take those things out. She felt as if she was waiting for him to come back from work so they could begin unpacking together.
A car screeched to a halt outside but Jenna was too wrapped up in her own little world to have eyes or ears for anything else. She jumped when the doorbell rang.
It was Chris Collins. She had met Chris three months ago at Jack’s important basketball match. Chris and Jack had been best friends forever. They had worked together, played together and done everything together for as far back as they could remember. Of course the moment Jack and Jenna had gotten serious, Jack had wanted her to meet his best buddy but Chris had been in another part of the country and one thing or the other had gone wrong, delaying that important rendezvous. But once they met, it was only natural that everything would immediately fall together for the three of them; they were meant to get along, the two most important people in Jack’s life.
She hadn’t seen Chris since Jack’s funeral and there too, she hadn’t really seen him.
‘Hi’, he said with a feeble smile she did not reciprocate. ‘I was just passing by here and I thought, well it has been a while…’
She nodded and opened the door wider to admit him in. He followed her into her kitchen, watching her slender figure move underneath a casual white shirt and jeans. Her hair were tied back in a messy knot, escaping in tangles down her neck. Chris admired her in pained silence; so much loss and so much beauty together. He thought it would take his breath away.
There was much too much hurting between them.
‘Would you like a drink?’ she finally asked, her voice slow, soft and restrained. Chirs felt the contrast; he had seen a different Jenna some weeks ago. ‘It is really hot and somebody-‘ she waved her arms around vaguely, frowning as she strained to recall but failed-‘somebody just installed the refrigerator’.
‘Just some water would be nice’ Chris replied, smiling. Jenna nodded once and turned her back on him as she reached out for some clean glasses over the sink.
Personally Chris knew he came the closest to empathizing with her. Jack had moved away from home years ago and Chris was the closest family he had had in all this time. There was little they hadn’t known about one another, practically brothers as they were. Jenna had courted Jack for a year before their engagement and Chris had known how their bond had grown, he had witnessed Jack’s emotional growth during that period. Yes, he came the closest to understanding how she felt, what she must be going through.
‘How are you doing?’ he asked him as she handed him a glass of water.
She shrugged, crossing her hands across her chest, almost as if to block the gaping hole of emptiness there, her hips leaning against the slab of the island. ‘I am all right. And you?’
‘I’m good’ Chris replied firmly. ‘It has been a while now’.
She nodded and he noticed how haunted her eyes looked, and the dark circles underneath from lack of sleep.
‘So will you show me around the house?’ he asked suddenly, building up a force of feigned energy in an attempt to distract her.
‘Oh’ she said. ‘ I thought you’d already seen it…?’
‘Yes, but not with the furniture in place and also, I am sure there must be other modifications since I last visited.’
‘I’m still in the middle of all that’ Jenna replied vaguely moving towards the hall. He followed in silence. ‘I was still figuring out where the stuff needs to go…’
She stopped besides a half-wrapped frame that lay on the floor. Chris bent down and pulled back the bubble-wrap. It was a photograph of Jack and him, arms around one another; comrades pretending to be martyred. It had been taken on the night of Jack’s bachelor party.
She joined him on the floor as he smiled down at the photograph, feeling the pain and loss within him intensify.
‘You know’ he finally said, after a long moment had passed. ‘The only reason that I-I’ve been able to cope with this somewhat is because your pain is so much more intense than mine. I mean, whenever I think of Jack, I end up thinking of you too and that makes me stronger because I can’t desert you in the middle of all this. He wouldn’t want me to. He’d want me to be around.
She said nothing but as he looked up at her, he noticed her beautiful round eyes beginning to moisten.
‘I’m sorry’ he said abruptly. ‘I shouldn’t have said all this; I didn’t mean to make you cry. I-I think its best if I…I should maybe leave…’
He began to get up but to his surprise, her small and cold hand closed around his big one. He stopped midway , on his knees.
‘No Chris, please stay’ her pleading eyes compelled him to drop down on the floor besides her once again. She didn’t let go of his hand and he squeezed it once, gently waiting for her to speak.
‘Maybe’ she said, ‘maybe we need to deal with this together. I- I feel that’s what Jack would have wanted. And you are the only link I have to him and I don’t want to lose you, understand?’
There was an urgency in her voice, like it was really important to her that he understood this and he nodded.
‘Jenna’ he said, squeezing her little hand once more, ‘You must know that wherever Jack is, he wouldn’t want you to cry so badly, okay? He would want you to be happy and strong and to hold on better because he still loves you.’
She nodded again and now he saw the tears beginning to roll down her cheeks. He reached out and wiped them away.
‘And God makes your life so that you can deal with whatever it is he gives you. He wouldn’t give you more than you can take, would he now?’
‘I know, I know Chris’ she whispered, rocking back and forth on her knees. ‘Its just so hard, so damn hard and so unfair…’
He clutched her shoulders tightly and they remained there for a long time while the light outside faded, feeling one another’s loss.