28 June 2010
Magpie Tales #20...Amy's Anniversary
Amy would have been twenty today, she thought miserably. Twenty years that she would have spent laughing and living.
She picked up the brush. The end was a little melted from the radiator, and the bristles were droopy with age. A hair was entwined around it, and for a moment she thought it was Amy's. Then she remembered. She had never seen Amy's hair.
How could she pretend that Amy had never existed, when it was as clear as day she was being haunted by her ghost? She cradled the brush. It was supposed to be Amy's, she knew that.
"Are you thinking about It?" Her husband said as he came up behind her.
She flinched. She shook her head slightly and put down the brush.
"Her name was Amy."
He had gone into the other room. She looked sadly at the ceramic beneath the brush. The raised surface showed a lily surrounded by vines. A green stone in the middle had been chipped out roughly.
Twenty years of marriage, and four children. And all she could think about was Amy.
"Amy would have wanted to be here," she muttered.
"What?" her husband asked from the other room. The TV almost drowned his voice out.
"Her sister's wedding. She would have wanted to be here."
"Just forget about It."
"I can't just forget!"
"I have. It's been twenty years, for God's sake."
She wiped her eyes. "It was all your fault."
"It was your parents' idea."
"How could you let them - or me...why would you do something like that?" She was crying now.
"She's gone. Think about your other children for once. How do you think it makes them feel to know that you care so much about someone they've never known, when you won't even return their phone calls?"
"But I do! I care about them!" She sobbed hysterically.
"I know," he sighed. "But they don't. You can never bring Amy back, no matter how much you try."
"Amy is my best friend."
She head the couch groan as he rose. He put his arms around her.
"She can still be your friend. But she will never hold a conversation with you, or hug you, or tell you she loves you. She can't, but the others can. Let them be your children."
"Okay," she said softly. She slipped out from his arms.
She put the brush back into the wooden box. She stretched on her toes to slide it carefully onto the highest shelf. A collection of cobwebs and dust bunnies fell on her jumper. She sneezed involuntarily.
He went back to the TV. He wasn't a bad husband, he had been as devastated as she was. He kept himself frozen to Amy by forgetting she had ever had a name.
Amy's birthday always made the grief surface. She would sit for hours in the bedroom, then finally get the box down. Tenderly take the contents out, and sit looking out at the garden. Then she would get angry at him.
He was angry with himself, for what he had done twenty years ago. Her parents were buried down the street, but she never visited their graves. He left flowers every Sunday, because he knew how they had felt. If it had been any of his daughters, he would have done the same.
She came out of the bedroom and got her coat. He got up to drive her to Amy's grave.
They sat on Amy's bench watching the sun set.
She returned the phone calls and bought a new dress for the wedding.
Thinking of twentieth anniversaries, as this is the twentieth Magpie. Traditional flower; lily.The traditional gem; an emerald. The traditional gift is ceramic/china. It symbolizes the beautiful, elegant, and delicate existence of love for one another over the past years.