Shortly after midnight her eyes shut and the nurse gave us the nod. Her pain was over. Ours had just begun. I wondered out the house, through the dimly lit streets of a town I once called my own. Everything I saw had a piece of her etched upon it. I had barely a memory of my childhood without her in it. I found myself at the playground we had practically grown up on, running my fingers down the cold steel slide. It felt like the hand I had held in mine minutes ago, blue and lifeless. This was never just a slide to us. It was a mountain, an escape route, a secret passage, a trap door shoot to another world…the only limit of this slide was our imagination. I sat upon the middle swing. I always had to have the middle swing and she would be on my right side. I wish I would’ve given her the middle swing once in awhile. She would’ve loved being the center of attention for a moment or two.
If I closed my eyes, I could hear the laughter of 8 year olds ringing throughout the gray sky that surrounded me. I could almost hear her calling my name as we jumped off the swings, into the air and raced towards the merry-go-round. “Wait for me, Sissy!” she would exclaim as we leapt aboard the spinning monster that we thought was a time machine. So many times I should’ve stopped and waited for her. Instead, I ran ahead and landed in places across the world, while she waited for me to return home and tell her of my adventure. I never realized how the adventure would’ve been so much greater if she had been at my side the entire time, instead of waiting here. She should’ve made her own adventures across the globe, or even the galaxy!
But then again, some days I think her adventures far surpassed mine. For she had adventures I would never know of a child growing inside her, love at first sight the day he was born, and the trials and pride she felt while watching him sprout into a real live boy. It made sense to me now. I was always Indiana Jones and she wouldn’t go anywhere without her doll. Feeding it, loving it and protecting it from whatever monsters or aliens or evil demons we came across. She was meant to be a mother. She was so good at it. More than I could ever be. Now, with her passing, I had no choice but to be a mother to her little boy and hope I don’t fail either of them miserably. And I must keep my promise that I will always bring him to our playground.