I wander from room to room, following the clean man-smell of his aftershave. It’s strongest in the bathroom we shared, so I crouch in the corner, calling his name. Some nights I even sleep on the bathroom floor, afraid to lose his scent. When that’s finally gone, what will become of me?

Friends and family offer to come round, but I can’t bear the thought of that sea of masks, the oceans of distance between each of us. The virus took my husband, and now it won’t even let us survivors hold each other close for solace. I can’t seem to stop shivering.

I finally pull myself away from the Martin-scented bathroom and crawl into my own bed. I dream of the old life, with him curled up beside me. I awake to tear-soaked pillows and a huge empty space.

I’m desperate for warmth so I order camellias, in colors of flame and hot pink. When they are delivered, I realize that they have no pulse; they do not breathe. They are cold to the touch. I throw them out.

“I’m sending you a ragdoll, Claire,” writes a friend. I don’t understand, but I am beyond curiosity, beyond caring. My heart is ice.

When the basket arrives, I bring it in without giving it a glance. We sit side by side in silence, gradually accepting each other. I begin to relax. No masks. Only inches between us. After what seems like hours, I turn to look at her. She stretches, yawns, and opens her eyes. They are the bright blue of a cloudless sky, a child’s balloon, a prayer answered. In one elegant motion, she leaps out of the basket and into my arms. I stroke her silky fur. Her heartbeat is strong and certain, her breathing warm and content. I rock back and forth, burying my face in her softness. Love and grief mingle and melt and merge.

“Thank you,” I whisper to Martin, to the beautiful ragdoll cat, and to my own strong heart which is breaking and mending, breaking and mending.

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Eric Radcliffe
Eric Radcliffe (@eric-radcliffe)
19 days ago

Hello Fuji, how you captured and expressed the feelings of losing a loved one. How will we ever recover? Then you go on to show that the heart is always capable of loving again, always room to love.

Andrew Carter
Andrew Carter (@andrew-carter)
19 days ago

Very poignant and heartfelt, Fuji. At first, I thought it was a ragdoll doll until it leapt from the basket which was a heartwarming twist.

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8

Bait

It takes a real talent to tell a story in ...
  • 2 months ago by Eric Radcliffe

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4

Endure and Sing

Inspirational piece. Am glad you picked the rat to be ...
  • 4 months ago by Leena Auckel

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4

Endure and Sing

Such a sweet tale – and with a good moral ...
  • 5 months ago by Fuji

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4

Vows

I must admit it was the picture of the church, ...
  • 6 months ago by Fuji

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3

A Magical Tour

Lovely story, Leena. There really is nothing more magical than ...
  • 4 months ago by Carrie OLeary

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3

Afterlife

Beautiful Emilia, my eyes are a little misty after reading ...
  • 4 months ago by Sandra James

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3

Endure and Sing

Wow! This is a good story! Really good to read ...
  • 4 months ago by Lyric The Great

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2

A Paranormal Pandemic

Well done Emily on getting First – Eric.
  • 2 months ago by Eric Radcliffe

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2

Traffic Jam

Your story really reflects on the world today, so many ...
  • 2 months ago by Carrie OLeary

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2

A Paranormal Pandemic

I agree with all the other comments, Emily. This is ...
  • 2 months ago by Fuji

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2

A Paranormal Pandemic

Love this Emily, nice and tense throughout, culminating with that ...
  • 2 months ago by Carrie OLeary

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2

Crimson Rose

I like this haiku Katy – always they question what ...
  • 2 months ago by Eric Radcliffe

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2

Endure and Sing

I’m really glad to hear that! Leena Auckel did an ...
  • 3 months ago by Katy Bizi

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2

Endure and Sing

Hi Katy, it really does add an extra dimension to ...
  • 3 months ago by Eric Radcliffe

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2

Endure and Sing

In my neighboring country Denmark, we have the classical storyteller ...
  • 3 months ago by Christer Norrlof

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2

Where She Belonged

Don’t we all find refuge in a good book and ...
  • 3 months ago by Leena Auckel

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2

Where She Belonged

You took an all-too-common painful occurrence and gave it a ...
  • 3 months ago by Susan Giles

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2

Where She Belonged

I like the concept of home here. Well crafted ending.
  • 3 months ago by Susan Dawson

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2

Where She Belonged

At times all we need is a corner in our ...
  • 3 months ago by musing mind

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2

Where She Belonged

Great story, all that negative intensity of an unhappy home ...
  • 4 months ago by Jay Vaananen

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