I see us in a million montages—you and me, Ava, in a million vignettes. Visions of us.
You are beneath me. You stare up at me. You gaze, lovingly, into my eyes, and you do not look away as you come apart. I see this moment, over and over and over again…
You whisper something, as the shudders wrack you, yet the words you whisper are lost to me. I want those words—they mean everything.
What is it you whisper in the moment of our most intimate completion?
My name, surely.
What is it you whisper, Ava?
Please, tell me. Whisper those sounds to me again, even just once, I beg you.
Come to me, and come for me, and come with me: I will hear those sweet, dulcet syllables blooming from your lips and I will know myself, and I will know I am home.
* * *
Memory is a harsh mistress: she embellishes the beautiful and serene, yet she also sharpens the edges of pain.
All I have left of my husband, Christian, is memory. Everything else is gone. Our son, Henry, conceived and cherished and born and grown in the fertile soil of our love…he is dead. He molders six feet under the black loam of a Florida cemetery. The home we created for ourselves, in Ft. Lauderdale, is a pile of rubble, demolished by a hurricane. That home, and everything in it, is utterly gone. Even the rubble, by now, is likely cleared away.
And all I know is, right now…I’m scared of letting myself grieve for Henry.
I’m scared I’ll never find Christian. And if I never find Christian, what will I do?
Who will I be?