1. Four weeks, one day

Coming home to an empty house. How cliché. It happened so many times while Ray was alive and I thought nothing of it. Now it’s different, of course.

I think about the things he’d notice coming home: dishwasher not emptied and reloaded…the f’ing ants all over the counter…again! Why is this still here? Why doesn’t anybody remember to put the freaking front porch light on?! But all of those words are in my head now, not coming from Ray. I still hear him and anticipate his every complaint.

There is nothing to do but what I need to do for myself. The dishwasher. Dispatch some more ants. Turn the porch light on…after the horse is long gone. It’s quiet. Thank God I have my dog, Willy, otherwise I’d be talking to myself and I know still I’m too young to be doing that. It’s funny how your arms and legs feel superfluous and somehow awkwardly in the way. Not sure what that means, but I used to do things for Ray with them. They seem so “extra” now.

I remember, as did Ray, coming home with our first child. We walked in the door. Now what? We took him upstairs, walked around in circles a few times and then put him in his crib (which seemed laughably large for him). Now what? We walked around in circles a few more times then went downstairs and sat on the couch — and stared into space. Now what?

I guess these giant shifts in life are like that. You don’t really know what to do with the extra bits. I can hear the dryer going downstairs, but I can also hear molecules of air moving by my ears. I only ever heard that sound when I was alone. I’m going to be alone a lot now. Now what?