Forever and Always

I lay crying in my bed. I think back to better days, trying to comfort myself, but I seem to do the exact opposite instead. I cry harder, my chest moving in and out harshly with each deep breath I take. I remember the last time you laid with me in this bed; the way you held me tight against your body after we made love. I can still feel your fingers playing with my long, messy strands of hair as I rested my head on your sturdy chest. That was the night. Now, I look down the length of my body at my growing stomach. Only a few months left. How the hell was I supposed to do this on my own? This was never the way I planned to raise our first child, our sweet baby girl. You died before I knew I was carrying her. I never got to see the excitement on your face that would appear after I told you the news. We didn’t get to fight over baby names, or what colors we would paint the nursery. You would never hear her first cry, or watch her take her first little steps. You would never hear her first word, or see her off to her first day of school.

I can still remember the day I first saw you, walking downtown with your friends, laughing that laugh of yours. You were always entertaining others. It was like a movie scene, where you watch the two main characters stop dead in their tracks, making the most intense eye connection imaginable. That’s when I knew. Your eyes pierced through me, and I had never felt more alive. We jumped head first into a relationship that progressed quickly, and I fell in love with you at an alarmingly fast rate. I can still remember telling myself I was just going to get my heart broken if I let you in so quickly. I desperately hoped that you would prove my instincts wrong. You had an inexplicable trait, one that scared me to death, but attracted me nonetheless. I was terrified, but I didn’t care. I was falling hopelessly in love with you, and I was enjoying every minute of it.

I can still feel the excitement of that night bubbling throughout my body. We were in Paris, and I’d dreamed of this moment for years. I close my eyes, and let myself drift back to that hotel bathroom, as I stood in front of the mirror getting ready. You were lying on the bed, waiting for me to finish up as usual. I knew something was different tonight though. Instead of complaining about me taking too long, I could feel your eyes on me. You kept telling me how beautiful I was, how timeless I looked. You weren’t the type to compliment others on a regular basis; your flattering remarks were rare, making them all the more meaningful. I knew how you felt that night though. I could tell by the way you lead me through the lobby to the cab; by the way you were proud to have me on your arm, hoping to make every other man in the room envious. I had never felt so incredible. We ate our meal and afterwards, you dragged me onto the dance floor where you whirled me around. I felt like we were floating in the clouds, weightless and without a care in the world. I remember the French music playing in the background, and it runs through my head and gives me a buzz all over again. When we left, I couldn’t imagine anything more in store for the night, but I knew the surprises were far from over. Upon leaving, you blindfolded me so I couldn’t tell where the cab was taking us. My heart started beating faster than I thought humanly possible and my mind jumped from scenario to scenario, trying to figure out what you had up your sleeve. I tried not to let it show, but I was giddy as could be. After a few minutes of being led somewhere, I heard the sound of you inserting a key into a door. I felt like I was going to jump out of my skin with excitement. You took the blindfold off, and when I opened my eyes, the room was dark and I still couldn’t see a thing. “Wait here,” you whispered into my ear. The warmth of your breath on my ear sent tingles down my spine and heightened every sense in my body. I did as you asked, and seconds later, you came back for me. You uncovered my eyes, grabbed my hand, and led me into another room. The room was lit with hundreds of candles, the bed was covered in rose petals, and the most spectacular view of the Eiffel Tower was right outside the sliding glass door. Before I had the chance to muster up the words to express my feelings, you knelt on one knee, and simply said, “Make me the luckiest man in the world. You’re the only thing I want in my life, forever and always, sweetheart.” But we both knew you didn’t have to ask. With the happiest tears I had ever cried, I breathlessly whispered yes. It was what I had always dreamed of. You remembered. You remembered my childhood fantasy of a proposal in the most beautiful city in the world. But this was so much more than I could have ever asked for. I didn’t want the night to end. I wanted to stay in that moment until the end of time.

Plans for the wedding began immediately, and neither of us could have been happier. The months quickly passed by, and looking back now, I wish I wouldn’t have been so immersed in making sure the wedding was perfect. So many nights, I stayed up into the wee hours of the morning, while you begged me to come to bed. What I wouldn’t give for you to still be begging me, for you to still be here now.

It was just one short month before the wedding, and you were on your way to meet me for dinner. Twenty minutes after the time you should have arrived, I received a call from the hospital, beckoning me to get there as quickly as I possibly as I could. There was no explanation. I had no idea what was going on. My heart suddenly felt like it was a thousand pounds. My breathing stopped. My eyes instantly welled with tears. I don’t remember running to my car. I don’t remember driving myself to the hospital. I simply remember running inside, and seeing the nurses waiting for me, telling me that I was only minutes too late. There was nothing I could do. You were gone. My forever and always was gone.

Details slowly surfaced as the nurses tried to console me. You were waiting at a stoplight, when a drunk driver struck your car and threw you into oncoming traffic. The authorities told me there was nothing that could have been done. The accident wasn’t survivable.

Now, I lie here in our bed. My bed now. You don’t lie here anymore. You don’t sleep on the pillow; you don’t cover yourself with the sheets. Never again would I wake up in the wee hours of the morning to your warm, sturdy arms pulling me into your body. Never again would you do the simple things that I loved so much; making me coffee in the morning just the way I liked it, surprising me at work just because you wanted a kiss. This was once my favorite place though, this bed. It was the place where the problems of the day drifted away as we slept, wrapped in each other’s limbs. It was the place that you comforted me, wiped my tears from my cheeks, kissed my forehead and promised me everything would be okay after a fight with my mother. It was the place that we stayed up, laughing hysterically at nothing, watching our favorite movies, and eating ice cream all night. It was the place that made the two of us become one, our bodies laced with passion and desire. It was the place that we created this beautiful little baby. Now, I try to avoid being in this bed as much as possible. All it does is force me to feel and think the things that I’ve tried my best not to feel and think. But avoidance, I’m learning, gets me nowhere. I can’t avoid everything. Our little apartment is covered in pictures of us. I sleep in your old shirts and the faded smell of your favorite cologne still lingers in the threads. Sometimes I call your cell phone so I can hear you when your voicemail picks up. That goofy, fun-loving voice still makes my heart flutter. Your favorite gum still sits on the nightstand. You always used kiss me while you had a fresh piece in your mouth. I can almost taste in on my lips. Now, it nearly makes my stomach sick with sorrow.

The past 6 months have been a blur. It was just two weeks after you died that I found out I was pregnant with our first child. I’m naming her August. That was the month you were taken away from me, and from everything we had planned for our lives together. I hope she has your captivating blue eyes. I hope she gets your streak of adventure. I hope she gets the element of carelessness you had, the way you followed your heart. Some people would call it a flaw, not listening to your head, but I always thought it was extraordinary. You were extraordinary. And you and I, no doubt, made an extraordinary little person.

I try to look around me and be thankful for the happiness that still fills my life. Right after you died, I had begged for something to take my life as well. Now, I thank God each day that he’s left me our little girl, a little person that holds the best of both you and I. While she will never know her daddy, she will hear stories and will never have to doubt that he would have loved her with every ounce of his heart. I find peace in the fact that together, we had a love that some people can only dream of. And even when some people have that love, they take it for granted, or let it slip away. We never stopped loving each other; we never would have. Forever and always, sweetheart.





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