I had the love of a wonderful woman, and loved her in return. It was pretty terrific, for both of us. She was the foundation for everything in my world, and I know that she felt the same about me. I tried to make her happy, and I'm pretty sure that — most days — I succeeded. She certainly made me happy, just about every day from the day we met til the day she died.
Did I worship the ground she walked on? No. That's silly. The ground she walked on was just ground — dirt or concrete, grass or pavement. It would be absurd to worship the ground she walked on. It's not much of an exaggeration, though, to say that I worshiped Stephanie.
I loved her, and still do, for so many reasons. Because she was weird like me. Because she could make me laugh. Because she made me care. Because she didn't have to explain herself to me, nor I to her. Because unlike me, she was smart, and kindhearted, and able to fix a garbage disposal. Because whatever the situation — good bad, or ghastly — her presence made it better. I've never been much of a man, but she made me feel like I was. She was so much more than I deserved, and I was less than she deserved, but we were a good match.
It is amazing to me, flabbergasting, that we ever had each other. Our time together was full of troubles, yet far too perfect for here on Earth. And it's like the floor dropping away, that she's gone.
There are still times when I'll briefly fantasize that it's all a bad dream. That she's alive and well. That she'll come walking down the hall – not rolling, but walking on both healthy legs – and into the kitchen, and she'll ask me, "Where's the spaghetti pot?"
The spaghetti pot is in a cardboard box in the next room, with a whole lot of Steph's stuff that didn't earn a spot in the Shrine. I don't cook much, and when I do it's not spaghetti, so I've moved a lot of Steph's things — some to the Shrine, some to the spare room, some to the basement, some to Goodwill.
Stephanie isn't going to need the spaghetti pot. She's not going to walk down the hall and into the kitchen, ever again. I'd be ecstatic if she did, but she won't. I'm getting used to that, slowly and sadly, but it sucks like a Hoover upright.