It's snowing. "Blizzard conditions," they say. Midnight tonight until noon tomorrow. A dozen hours of white.
I am wearing his sweatshirt tonight. The Rose Bowl souvenir from Ohio State's 1997 season. The one he never let me wear. I'm wearing it tonight.
I turned off all the lights. I read in the dark. I lit the pumpkin buttercream candle. I listened to the freezing rain on the windows.
I felt the draft from the windows he never liked, the ones he planned to replace.
On my way to bed, I looked outside. There's already an inch out there. I'm pretty much in denial over that. I don't think I'll really believe the forecast until the cold nips my nose in the morning on the way to school (provided there isn't a snow day, which I am praying whole-heartedly against).
I rested my forehead against the sliding glass door that leads from the kitchen to the deck. I could see him in my mind, his black snow pants, his subzero wardrobe that left nothing but his eyes exposed. He was prepared for the arctic. If we lived there, I'm pretty sure he would have plowed the driveway everyday.
I remembered how he loved to startle me by throwing a snowball straight at the window. I would watch the ice slide down the glass. He would laugh and make a teasing face, as if he were more my 13-year-old brother than my knight in shining armor.
I remembered his boots, traipsing snow from the back door to the front. I remembered how I felt a little guilty for picking at him about that, since he was doing me an enormous favor of shoveling at all.
I remembered the morning I was to drive with L to visit J in Arkansas, how the snow piled high the night before we were to leave at 6 AM. He got up at 5:30 and shoveled the driveway to ensure we got a solid start at least into the street. And he didn't even pester me about changing my plans because of the weather, since he knew I can get pretty thickheaded when it comes to canceling my plans.
I remembered how I stayed moled away in the house for a week after our first miscarriage, how he begged me to come out and see the sunshine. He called from work to check on me. He encouraged me to go outside and shovel the driveway, promising sunshine and exercise. And I told him to please not ever suggest that again, to please keep in mind that I had had surgery to clean out my uterus and that shoveling wasn't the way to nourish my spirit. And he brought flowers home.
I remembered how he was always willing to bundle up with the boys to go on a snow hike, build a snowman, and engage in the warfare of a snowball fight. He let me stay inside with my book and coffee, which I much preferred over being cold.
It occurred to me that in a few hours, the boys will awake to snow, they will want to rush out to play, and they will want me to be their playmate. And I will miss Robb in a whole new way.
My forehead felt cold on the glass. My heart felt cold in my chest.
His memories dance in my mind.