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Coming of Age Creative Nonfiction

At 59 years old, Roger and I met via an online dating site. His mother still can't believe he actually used such a thing. First date was at an English pub named The Falconer. He gave me a picture of flowers he had painted. Rog was a contractor by trade and I was an administrative assistant. I was using my nickname, "Lacey". He shared with me about his late wife, Linda. I paused and told him my real name was also Linda. I was Linda once again. We had fish and chips with a few beers. After dinner, we walked around Market Night. He walked me to my car and as he gently put his hands around my face, said he forgets faces sometimes and gave me a soft kiss goodnight. 

Roger fell first and I needed convincing. I've always dived fast and furious into a relationship and, I was surprised to learn, so did he. A dear friend informed me when I told him I had found someone special I had kissed enough frogs and finally found my prince. Rog must have been kissed by enough princesses and was just waiting for me. We had many relationships between us. We each were in our 5th long-term relationship/marriage. This was the longest for me outside of when I was with my sons' father and felt different. I could relax with Roger and actually feel comfortable knowing our relationship was good. I didn't worry or feel the need to cut bait and run. Neither did he.  

We met in July, I turned 60 on December 23rd, we married on December 27th, and Rog turned 60 on December 30th! Our family included one Chihuahua, two female felines, two granddaughters we would watch on occasion, one grandson, assorted children, and us. We spent most of our time alone until November of 2017 when my nine-year-old grandson spent 13.5 months with us. I actually grieved when we had to take him back to his mom.  

Five years, seven months, and one week after that first date, as soon as I woke up one Wednesday morning, I texted "come hither" to my love. This had become our good morning ritual and was the way I checked to see if Rog was still at home or if he had already left for his day at work. Within minutes, he walked into my room carrying a bowl of Cheerios. He was already dressed and said his boss had called him to go do two little service jobs. Since it was raining and he was going to start staying home rainy and very hot days as he was getting ready to retire, I was surprised. Boss was insistent, I guess. Rog said he was feeling melancholy and thought he might as well be working.

Rog brought me coffee and, when my tummy started rumbling, he brought me toast and jelly. We had a leisurely morning with him not leaving until 9:15. We talked more of when he would retire, what we would do, where we would live. All too soon, he kissed me goodbye and left for the office. He said he'd be home early. 

As usual, I drank my coffee and watched TV until I got hungry. My mind was set on turning last night's leftover salmon into an omelet. I walked into the kitchen about 10:45. I stopped in the middle of the room and said out loud, "Something isn't right. Something is wrong!" I pushed through my feelings of unease, made my omelet, and took a picture to send to Rog. Waited patiently for his usual comment about how I never cook this deluxe for him and it didn't come. Ever.

My day was normal except I hadn't heard from Rog. I kept checking his phone and it kept pinging at the same location. I figured he was doing work at Starbucks. I was scheduled to pick up my granddaughters at 5:00 p.m. Did dishes. Walked the dog. Decided to do his laundry. At 2:45, I sat down on the floor and started sorting. Held up a shirt and said, "I don't know why I'm doing this. No one is going to wear them. It doesn't matter." I got one load into the washer and it sat there several days.

I do not know why I had these signs. I had a few in the past and only one turned out true. I was uneasy as I had never gone so long without hearing from my soulmate. I left messages. Phone was still in the same spot. About 3:40, his boss called and asked if Rog was at home. He had never reached the first job. I told them he was missing as he hadn't responded to me. I was so worried. At 4:00, I called my daughter-in-law, Michelle, and let her know I wouldn't be able to watch her girls as I didn't know where Rog was. She checked the emergency room at the hospital where she worked and found he wasn't there.  

At 4:06, I received a phone call from another hospital. They asked if I was me and I said yes. They started hemming and hawing about Roger and I came right out and asked, "Is he dead?" They said they usually don't give this information over the phone and I asked again. Yes, they said. He was in an accident about 10:50, had to be cut out of his truck which took an hour, made it to the ER, and to surgery then started coding in the ICU at 2:54 and was finally pronounced at 3:32 p.m. 

I called Michelle who left work and met me at the hospital. I called Roger's eldest, Leah, and told her the devastating news. She handled the other calls. Roger's son's girlfriend, Margo, had called me earlier as people were messaging her looking for him. I told her on the phone yet when she arrived, it hadn't sunk in. I had to tell her again. She told Paul, Roger's son, while we were on the way to their house to get him.

Part of me refused to believe it until I walked into his hospital room almost 90 minutes later. Having Michelle with me calmed me. Paul and Margo were finding a parking space while Michelle and I went upstairs. She went in first to be sure I could handle. I walked in and saw my beloved partially covered on a bed. Tubes and wires were exposed. I quickly covered him to his neck in order to not upset Paul and Margo any more than they were already. We were told a distracted driver had lost control of his huge truck and hit Rog's little truck so hard both vehicles leapt into the air. Witnesses said the killer had been texting and speeding on wet roads. Rog was just sitting in his car, waiting for the light to change.

Two years, six months, and 24 days. Sometimes, I'm better. I'll always have Rog in my heart and soul Sometimes, I feel as if this is my worst nightmare. 

October 01, 2021 01:46

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1 comment

Mo Ferdause
19:35 Oct 07, 2021

The story felt so real. Nice work Linda!

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