They say the definition of insanity is repeating the same thing over and over and expecting something to change.
Truth be told Anthony always hated that saying because it made him feel broken.
He wanted to quit feeling the way he did but it seemed too soon.
Ever since his wife died a year ago, getting up seemed purposeless. It felt as if a giant weight pressed against his heart everyday and every night. He moved slowly and deliberately as if two bricks were on his feet and dumbbell weights were around his wrists. He could only move when he thought of Joan. He could not move for himself.
Anthony thought about Joan constantly. He imagined her hanging out with him no matter what he did during the day.
He reminisced with himself every morning about how Joan and him used to make the bed together. The bedspread was given to them as a wedding present from Amy, Joan’s best friend. Each morning Anthony and Joan carefully pulled and smoothed the spread together so that it laid evenly on all sides. Then they laid the pillows just so.
Some mornings now when Anthony woke up, he would curl up under the cover and imagine Joan’s warm outline under the cover. He remembered how many times he remained in bed way past the third alarm just to feel her warm glow.
After playing Solitaire on Sundays Joan and him would then take in all the morning news shows. So that took up another couple of hours for his day.
Then next time to walk Tori their short-haired poodle. Both of them loved Tori and when Anthony walked her now he would talk to Tori and ask her questions.
“Hey girl, what do think Joan is doing right now. I know you miss her as much as I do”, John spoke out loud to Tori.
This slog of not letting go he knew prevented him from living a full life again. He knew he had get out there and take a class or maybe get onto the dating scene with the latest app. He did have old friends that he met with from time to time. But he felt a burden to them and that made his visits tiresome and forced.
He heard her voice as if there and now,”Ton’ I love you’.” Then from a dream state, the phone intoned with Amy’s ringtone.
“Anthony”, he answered.
“Hey Anthony. How’s it going today”, Amy said.
“You know it is so beautiful down here right now”.
“Really, Anthony is that an invitation?”
“Sure could you be down here for brunch, just bring your warm clothes cause there’s a strong ocean breeze”
“OK, let me shower I could be there in twenty.”
Anthony in the meantime grabbed the vacuum and started vacuuming. He remembered that Joan never liked inviting company over without giving the whole place a once over. Next he made the bed. Usually he did this in the morning but he had been laying in it all day long still imagining Joan next to him. Usually Joan, would dust all their Knickknacks next. She would start with the dutch lady from Holland. Then the two penguins statuettes from Antarctica. As he slowly dusted each he thought how her beautiful he freckled hands moved while dusting. He felt he could never stop thinking about her. Lastly he took a quick shower, quickly combed his hair. Just in time to hear the doorbell loudly chiming.
John invited Amy in with a warm hug as he and Joan always did.
“Would you like something to drink”
“A martini, with a twist of lime.” Amy noticed the look of sadness and rememberance. She changed her mind. She realized that Anthony was reminded of the absence of Amy since this is usually what all three of them drank at almost every occasion.
“You know actually, make that a Whiskey plain.”
“Amy, you don’t have to change your mind just because that is what we always had with Joan”, said John.
“John, the sadness that I see in you whenever I visit lately makes it hard to be here You know Joan and I were almost as close as you two in our own way.”
“Yeah”, John replied.
“Would it help if I did not come over here anymore for a while. I feel like I’m intruding on your privacy, like really you want to be alone. But I am also worried because you never come out with the group anymore”, said Amy.
“Yeah”, John said again. He thought, silently that weights were overcoming him. He began feeling dizzy.
Amy reached out and pulled him onto the couch. He draped over her, his eyes blinking as if in a trance. In a couple of minutes he recovered.
“Amy, thanks for catching me. I really enjoy your visits. I am sorry that I can’t seem to get over Joan and that I am such terrible company”, John said.
Amy looked straight into his eyes, and shook her head once.
“John you can take as much time as you need to express your grief over Amy. I know all about that as you know when I lost Lee, it took me several months before I could think straight. Anyone that has had a very deep and loving relationship would feel this way.”
“What helped you finally able to not think constantly and not fantasize about having Lee around”, asked John?
“It is not like breaking a bad habit. Losing someone that you love and ‘getting over’ them is kind of natural path. If you let it happen, it will occur”, said Amy.
“OK, maybe what I need most is to remember Joan still. So how about if I teach you one of the favorite games I used to play with her. Cribbage! The rules are little complex but I love the board. I will teach it to you.”
“You know why don’t you make a Martini after all. Something that I think Joan never told you is that we played Cribbage often when she visited me. So you better watch out because I usually won”, Amy replied.
“OK, one Martini coming up and perhaps Joan never told you but I always one at Cribbage also. I cannot wait to see which of us is the champ since we never have played together”