Drabble-y, nonsensical, short piece. Mourning, Mary, madness, ghosts, salvation, liberation. Trying to get back into ~the swing of things.
She held conversations with him that lasted for months, and she learned so much about him during these times, fell more in love with him, with what they shared through that quiet winter of 1921. She took walks with him during sunny days when the snow gleamed bright, or rode with him in the car, close in the back seat, murmuring of errands, of how George smile and grew.
Sometimes the chauffeur would take the route on which he died, but she didn't mind much as long as he was with her, such an entire part of her that for weeks he really did seem to continue to talk and exist on his own. It was a sweet descent into madness, a time in which she knew better, in which she hoped for relief, but when she could call him up, could imagine him clearly…who was she to deny such a wonder, a figment, a comfort?
The darker that the days were through that first winter without him, the easier it was to spend time with him – that is, the more shadows that crept through the house, the more she could remember him in a room, lurking there hidden from sight, but his presence still so apparent. There were days she didn't see George at all, didn't see another living person, but she spent time with him instead, heard his deep voice reading to her in the depths of night, or felt him curled beside her at morning's first light.
She began sleeping on his side of the bed, the one that was predetermined it seemed, he the husband sleeping closest to the door, there to ward off any enemies they may meet in the security of their bedroom at nightfall. Mary had laughed when he first said it, pointed out the usefulness of the strong man near the door. There was nothing, or no one, she could meet in her bedroom by then that would haunt her more than a dark stranger had so many years before.
But, she found, those new blissful weeks of marriage, after their honeymoon, she did find a sudden calm, an easier sleep with him beside her, her partner, there to save her, just as she was there to save him. Oh, they could save each other now, finally, after many long years of watching the other drown, of letting themselves suffer.
He was dead now, though, the sleep had left her and so too had the calm, and there was no difference in sides of the bed, for it was all hers now. There was no protection or strong man, she was both the strong woman and man now, for no one else would be that for her, so she must be it for herself. She slept where he once had, the sheets smelling faintly of him for weeks afterward, until she had cried into them so often that they needed changed and he was gone, it was gone…
She slept on his side just for hope to feel him there, to seek him, his presence, however she might, to remind herself of the gentle weight of him beside her as he would never be again.
Spring came calling eventually, years later it felt, she must be seventy years old by now and close to death herself, for how could it have only been seven or eight months? How could life drag on so long without him, when it had flown so quickly with him? It was unfair, nonsensical, but not surprising, not really – There was nothing to expect anymore.
When spring came, he faded along with expectations, for the days were longer and brighter, her reclusiveness less, her involvement in the estate more, her interest in their son important – Yes, she was leaving the world of the dead behind her, and she didn't see him in doorways or bedrooms anymore, she didn't smile at him lingering in the nursery, didn't feel him touch her hair as she stood at the window overlooking the grounds. No, he was gone with the spring, the new season, the new year, as he should have been gone the autumn in which he died. But she had held on, had pleaded with herself to keep him near, to remember him dearly, and all of her energy went into that and none into living…
She lived again with the spring, though, with the fresh air, and she could not keep them both alive, she hadn't ever, really – She was just keeping them both dead. She let go of the darker parts of his memory, the ghostly and haunting ones, in exchange for her life, to feel love, to know that love rather than go through the motions, draining herself just to remember his voice.
When Mary emerged it was dazzling in lavender, half mourning but full life, resolute and resilient, everything he loved in her, everything she believed in herself. She wasn't going to be left in the past, living in black that she hated more with each death, her only company a blonde ghost, she herself a corpse. No, she was going to succeed for them both, for each and every thing she once had within her grasp and lost too soon, for their son and for her peace of mind.
For a moment she had everything, and if she could, Mary would have everything once more.