I used the silence to think and examine my life – past, present and future. The future part was new. I hadn’t thought about a future for a long time. There was just a past, that I had dwelled in and a present to be endured from day to day. As I sat there, I decided that I’d dwelled in the past long enough. The present was to be enjoyed and the future? I smiled when I thought about the future. It had Donna’s face all over it. But not yet. It had been an amazing summer of sex that had yanked me out of the past. Everything seemed to just run together in my mind. All those events over the past several weeks were also in the past. I was making plans but I realized that I still had some itches that needed to be scratched; things left undone. They were simple things that were simply stuck in my mind. I resolved to scratch those itches and finish those things and then plan for the future.
The first thing I did was gather up the myriad of photos of Anna that I had everywhere as shrines. I gathered them all and put them in a box except for one. It was of Anna in her wedding dress just before she walked down the aisle at the church. I took that one and put it in my dresser drawer under my socks. I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of the others, so I put the box in the basement. Tears poured down my cheeks through the entire process. I was back at the funeral again.
As I climbed the stairs from the basement, I whispered to myself, “I love you Anna. I always will.” A thought came to me as I opened the door at the top of the stairs. It was a line from the movie, Shawshank Redemption: ‘Get busy living or get busy dying‘. I had been dying for thirteen years and that was long enough. I had one more thing to do regarding Anna and I had to go to the city to do it.
It was Sunday. Donna worked at the diner every day. I wanted her to slow down and take care of herself and the baby she was carrying. She had said she would after she got through the first trimester. She felt that after that the danger of a miscarriage would be lower. Her logic seemed backwards to me but I didn’t challenge her.
I dressed in slacks and a button-down shirt and dress shoes, packed a bag and drove to the diner. Donna’s grin when I walked in was like a ray of sunshine. She finished taking an order and then pushed herself against me and stretched up for a kiss. She wasn’t embarrassed in the slightest when a table of teenagers began hooting at us. One yelled out, “Get a room.”
Donna motioned for me to take my usual booth and I was about to sit down. I smiled as I thought, ‘I’m not going to sit there anymore,’ and I asked her for a table instead of the booth. She looked at me oddly but didn’t say anything. She showed me to a table in the center of the diner. There were a few customers other than the loud table of teenagers but the diner wasn’t very busy at the moment. I was watching the teens to see if I knew any of them when Donna appeared and asked if I wanted my usual. I was about to say ‘yes’ and then I smiled at her and said, “No. I’ll have two eggs over easy with wheat toast and hash-browns.”