Her smiles, her laughter, even her tears

I’m now vaccinated against the Coronavirus, and both jabs were at a facility I’d visited a few times, with Stephanie. She was sick a lot, and there aren’t many medical facilities around town that we didn’t visit at least once or twice.

I didn't know the building from the address, but I knew it when I was a few blocks away. I remember which specialist she saw in that building, and what the problem was that brought her. It’s not particularly sad walking in  without her — she never wanted to be in that building, or in any of the medical buildings she spend so much time in.

After we'd walked into that building together, a few years later we returned. I took her wheelchair out of the trunk, and she slid onto it, and that time I walked and she rolled into the building — the same building where I got my two jabs. I drove the same car, and her wheelchair is still in the trunk.

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Now that I’m protected against COVID, I’ve resumed shopping in person, instead of having groceries delivered. It’s the first time in more than a year that I’ve been inside Woodman's. Again, walking every aisle, I know exactly which products, which brands Stephanie would want. I know which chips she’d like as a treat, what soda she’d want, which cheese she’d need for which recipes, which noodles, and what soup.

Near the front of the store is the flower section, where I’d surprise Stephanie with whatever purple flowers didn’t have much odor, since a stronger scent messed with her allergies. I wish I could bring home some purple flowers again, and see her smile when she saw them.

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Something as simple as doing the laundry is a Steph memory, too. She did the wash, everywhere we lived, because she knew how to sort clothes by color, and knew what shouldn’t go into the dryer, and all that. I never much knew or cared about such things.

When she could no longer get to the building’s basement, laundry became one of my chores. Steph taught me about sorting by colors, and that delicate things — sweaters and such — don’t go into the dryer, and especially how to hang up her nice clothes, so they don’t get all wrinkled.

Now she’s gone, so I no longer sort by colors. I don’t own any delicate clothes, so everything goes into the dryer. I don’t hang anything up, because I’m wrinkled so my clothes should be wrinkled. But I wish I could hang Steph's sweaters on the clothesline, and bring her fresh clean pajamas …

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When she was here, we had adventures every weekend — we went places, did things, and my life was filled with her. I miss her smiles, her laughter, even her tears, and her energy, her voice, her karma, and her adventures.

If anyone at work asks on Monday, I'll say that I had a quiet weekend at home with the Mrs, and it'll be true. She’s closest when I’m remembering, writing dull entries like this, a bunch of words that couldn’t possibly interest anyone but me. Oh, but I gotta write the words.

To me every memory is beautiful, even the most banal bits. It’s a tear down my cheek. Remembering her is the best thing in what’s left of my life. Stephanie has been gone for so long, and still, always, she’s a smile on my face.