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Nine Hundred and Twelve Days
Nine hundred and twelve days. This is how long I wait. How long I remain the same as before, while my heart seems to sadden with each passing hour. Twenty one, eight hundred and eighty eight. This is how many hours I linger. Until I am whole again.
Until the love of my life returns to me.
Today, the nine hundred and thirteenth day, is the day he will return. The day I become whole again. The day myself returns, and this new found version of me disappears with the cold winter wind.
My mind wonders to what will happen. will it be the same as before? Will he be changed? Will I be changed? I know I have changed.
Will we walk down our road, hand in hand, as before? Will we laugh and talk endlessly for hours? Will we be the best of friends as before? Most importantly...
Will we love as we did before?
A cold feeling of dread inhabits my body at the thought of change. With the past two and a half years I have had to accept the change that has come, and some that have gone. I have become used to the schedule of wake up, breakfast, drive to work, work until lunch, have lunch at work cafe, go back to work until five, leave work, make my way through rush hour traffic, go home to our empty home, feed our dog Ricky, have my dinner, get ready for bed, sleep, repeat schedule daily.
Yes, it was a schedule I had become quite accustomed to.
As if sensing my melancholy mood Ricky, our black Lad, gives a wine of disapproval as he places his head upon my knee. His eyes stare up with endless love and never ending youth, the white hairs, that had taken residence around his eyes and nose with these past few years, seem to shine in fluorescent lights of the stove.
I force my lips to comply to a small smile as I run my hand a crossed velvety smooth black hair atop his head, his eyes close with the feeling of my touch.
"I remember when you were just a baby." My voice takes on an emotion that has become quite regular in my life. An emotion that causes tears to slide down my cheeks, an emotion that causes my heart to feel heavier in my chest, my lungs to ache with each forced breath.
I close my eyes and allow myself to be transported back, to a time of happiness and change. To a time when Logan and I's life has just begun. When we were enveloped in the wonder of our love, and that change that had happened in our lives.
It was my birthday, and Logan had told me he had a surprise for me, a surprise he knew I would like.
"What is it?" I asked with little patience as I sit blindfolded in the passenger seat of his, our, Jeep Cherokee. The only senses I possess are of touch, smell, and hearing.
Touch; the feeling of the warm summer's wind passing over my skin, causing my shoulder length auburn hair to whip backwards, dispended in space by the speed of the Jeep.
Smell; my nostrils fill with the sweet smell of the summer heart, Logan's musky cologne that he always wore, the smell of pine, and the smell of vehicle exhaust.
Hearing; Five Finger Death Punch screaming the lyrics to "Bad Company" through the Jeep's speakers, Logan's attempt of singing along as his hands drum along to the song on the steering wheel, the acceleration of the Jeep, and the honks of cars of angry drivers due to Logan's driving.
Logan doesn't answer my question but instead continues to whip our way through traffic to our destination.
Once we are there Logan helps me out of the Jeep, all the while keeping me blindfolded, then begins to lead me towards my surprise.
"What is it, Logan?" I ask, my voice full of my irritation.
"You'll see, you'll see." He pulls me tighter, his lips at my ear as he speaks.
As we walk I become aware of a new smell. A warm smell I cannot place. A smell that causes my heart to swell, my pulse to quicken.
"Okay," His fingers undo the blindfold, revealing me of my sense of sight. "Open."
I take in another deep breath, trying to place it...
Puppies. Everywhere. Seeming to be at least a hundred of them.
They give off little yelps of excitement at the sight of my, all of them crowding around us, yearning for our attention.
My mouth drops in wonder. My hands fly to my heart.
"Happy Birthday," He kisses my lightly on the forehead.
It didn't take long for me to chose Ricky. He had immediately caught my attention. Out of the sea of yellow he had been the only black puppy, his large brown eyes full of love and intelligence.
Ricky had helped me out more than I cared to think about these past few years. Without him it would have been much harder.
Ricky scoots himself closer a crossed the kitchen floor, a whine once again slipping through his lips as his eyes continue to watch me.
I smile once more, my spirits lifted despite the jog down memory lane. Ricky had always had that effect on me. Making the bad disappear and be replaced with the good.
"I'll be okay. Thanks buddy." I scratch the top of his head once more.
As if satisfied he stand up, and turns to leave the room. No doubt heading for his bed in the corner, a personal favorite spot of his.
The realization of the day seems to hit me suddenly. The realization that Logan is coming home. That we will be whole once more.
I jump up from my seat, my body seeming to fly a crossed the ground as my legs push me faster and faster. I get myself ready in a flourish, my heart beating quickly the hole time as memories of our past seem to echo in my mind.
I give myself once last look in the mirror. Taking in seemingly normal face, brown eyes, and hay stack of curly hair that is never tamed. This never bothered Logan. He had told me that he had always like my hair natural and wild...
With a smile I bring myself back to reality.
The sound of the doorbell echoes through the house.
My heart seems to stop.
Who would be coming over? It could be my friend Teresa...but she was going to meet me, along with Logan's family, at the airport...
Ricky's barks of warning fill my ears as does the sound of knuckles making contact with the wood five times.
Slowly I turn off the light and walk down the stairs. My heart hammers in my chest as I see the outline of two large figures against the white shades of the door.
My feet stop cold, as does my heart. A cold clammy sweat covers my hands, my body seems to lock up. I am unable to move, unable to think.
The same feeling of dread as before makes its way through my body. Only this time it is three times stronger. My breathing stops, all hope of my life disappears.
If something happens to me, Claire. Promise me one thing-
The conversation Logan and I had had before his departure is interrupted by another knock, a hard knock of authority. I know without a doubt who my visitor is.
You have to answer, Claire. One voice says in my head.
No, you don't. Another says.
Which one do I answer?
What if it isn't them? What if it's Logan?...and a friend?
I have to answer.
I have to know.
I slowly force my legs to work, bringing me closer and closer to the door. My heart is on a sprint, the cold sweat spreading over my body, each breath seeming to hang in the space between me and the door.
My hand reaches the knob, and slowly turns it. The door opens slowly, revealing the truth.
If something happens to me, Claire. Promise me one thing.
Promise me...you will go on living.
My eyes take in the back of the figure. It's dark hair cut in the traditional army buzz cut, it's uniform crisp and clean.
As the figure slowly turns, the tears in my eyes blur the face. In my mind I see Logan's crystal clear blue eyes, his crooked smile, the warmth he brought..
"Mrs. Wade?" My ears distort the voice to be that of Logan's.
"No, no, no." I sob, the realization hitting me as the tears spill over, relieving my of my vision.
The man steps forward, supporting me from falling onto the hard floor. My body is contorted in sobs, as rivers of tears streak down my face.
No, it can't be real.
Millions of questions echo in my head. Why? Why me? Why us? Why now? Why did he have to join? Why couldn't we have been an ordinary couple?
As I think of these questions the conversation I had had with Logan just nine hundred and thirteen days ago echoes in my mind.
Promise me...you will go on living.
My only question is...how?