The First Day of Spring
I lost my love on the first day of Spring.
I don't remember what the weather was like really. I remember the moon on the river because our friend drove me home from the hospital along River Road. It was a bright moon, ripely shining.
I am surprised I remember even that. I was in shock really. In shock probably from the day we got the diagnosis. I stayed there for a long long long time. So long in fact that even now, close to a year later I wake up reluctantly in the morning and wonder where I am and why I'm here. It makes no sense to me. But the dog needs attending to and there is the paper war. I don't ever seem to get to the paper war. I don't know why. I don't even know what it is I do all day. Distraction. Distraction. Anything to distract. I can't seem to paint. I can barely write. I only feel comforted in the company of others who might visit because then the fight to distract is not driving me, exhausting me. And then there are the days I cannot have visitors because I've forgotten how to be.
That spring when I lost my love was different than any other spring we had had in recent memory. It snowed late. And all the birds came out from the forest, drifting, flitting, filling the feeders. Birds I'd never seen before. Pink breasted, tawny underbellies, dull and coloured and bright against the snow. At the front walkway a lone robin sat wet and bedraggled and forlorn. I fed him raisins and eggs. It must have been Easter for they were brightly painted eggs my neighbour kindly gave me. The feeder was filled over and over again. I would sit there in my state of shock and watch them. They were a gift.
I would think that George had sent me the birds because he could not bring me flowers anymore. On the table of course the flowers from the funeral home died a certain death from neglect. I hated them. I eventually threw them off the side of the deck and watched their brownness eventually vanish into the undergrowth.
Here my feeder feeds little brown birds, occasionally a chickadee. They are angry and impolite with each other. Or maybe it is me who is angry and impolite. Perhaps. It happens to us old women. Maybe not all of us. Maybe just me. Maybe just me and that woman on Rideau who shuffles along angrily talking to herself. Maybe that was me. It could be.
But this old woman still smiles at clerks, and postal workers and people in the hall because that is how I used to be and since I don't know who I am I rely on a vague memory of who I once was. I am changed.
George would bring me lilacs every single spring. Every single spring that he was with me at the house. He had a favourite lilac bush on an abandoned lot on the 105. I used to say to him what on earth would people think, him riding along happily on his bike with a bunch of flowers on the handlebars smiling widely. I was almost always at the window when he was due home, looking for him. And he would kiss me. Every single day.
In the morning he would kiss me. Every single day.
The birds were not the gift--George was the gift.
If love hurts, its loss is worse. I would not trade a single day for our lives together. But I would not recommend love. Not anymore.