I saw your name.
It was a late night errand, nothing that really needed doing then, but I knew the next day I would have no time. So I perched on the edge of the chair, pen in hand, planner in the other and the little book open on the desk. Hardback and blue, with teddies on the front, from the ‘Old Bear’ stories; remember those?
I turned the pages, noting birthdays, taking the planner right up to the end of this year. I should input them on my phone, my life is run by appointments not so important lately, and the phone is full of them, may as well make it complete.
That’s when I saw your name.
The air turned cold, and my skin goosebumped like it does when the night wind sweeps in and you close the back door, locking up for the night. The tears surprised me, one moment I was fine, the next they were there, falling on the page and smearing ink like felt pen on blotting paper, that science trick you do in school.
How long has it been now? Three years? Nearly, her birthday isn’t until October and you died the week before she came, a solemn herald of her arrival. I remember crying on the bed, labour pains clenching my spine, knowing you’d never see the baby’s face. I’d like to say that if she’d been a boy her middle name would have been yours.
But I’m not a traditionalist, and your name suited you, not her.
It was curious really, how I couldn’t stop the tears and I wondered at myself even as they continued to flow. It was just your name. Not a photo, not the broken fairies that still sit on my shelf, nor a letter nor the rainbows that remind me of you. The same name is on my phone, I haven’t deleted it. I couldn’t bear to at first and then later I forgot, it’s not on my quick dial and I don’t know anyone else beginning with ‘J’.
It was a better death than the one you faced, so I shouldn’t be greedy and expect you back, I shouldn’t want that, but I do. Just to see her face and say that you were loved, just to have you live the life you were cheated of, even it was only for a little while. I think it was a mercy, a blessing in disguise.
But it could have waited.