Matt was one of only a few men in my lifetime who had seen me naked with my legs spread wide.
It had been two years, yesterday, that my husband died in a traffic accident. I was pregnant with our second child. Our daughter, Ruka, was now four.
Yesterday, Ruka and I visited my husband’s grave. She gave him flowers, though she really couldn’t remember her dad. Since Jay’s passing, I’ve tried to keep his memory alive for Ruka with photos and stories.
Now, it was morning, and we were having breakfast. Ruka looked at me and said, “I want to be married when I grow up.”
“Don’t rush things,” I said. “It’s not so fun being an adult. I’ve got to work, and I’m always tired.” What I didn’t tell Ruka was about the loneliness. She didn’t need to be bothered with that at her age.
“But when I get married,” she said, “I’ll be with my husband all the time, right? Then you’ll be alone. Won’t that make you sad?”
“Maybe. But I’ll be happy for you.” I finished filling her lunch box as though I could fill the emptiness inside me through a neatly-packed meal.
“Will you be lonely without us?” Ruka asked. Us. I knew she was thinking of herself, her baby brother, and little Jay. “Mom?” Ruka looked at me with a puzzled expression. “Do you get lonely?”
“I do. But I’ll always have you and little Jay to help me through. It’ll be okay. Let’s go, or we’ll both be late.”
Ruka held my hand as I hiked Jay on my hip, and we walked to the car. Ruka and I left Jay at the daycare, and then I left my daughter at school. I went to work after waiting in a long line at the Starbucks drive-thru. “Thanks,” I told the barista as she called out “Jazzy” and handed me my latte.
I drove to my office, and while in the parking lot, the engine was running to stay warm. I texted Jay’s mom, wishing her a good day and letting her know she was loved.
I entered the building and saw Dr. Matt standing by the receptionist’s window. He spoke to some of the staff when he noticed me come in. “Good morning, Jazmine. How are you today?” Minnie was his pet name for me, but he never used it in front of the team.