I lay facing my sleeping husband in the bright moonlight. It was nearly as bright in the room as if we’d left a light on. As usual, at least one part of our bodies was touching…no matter the size of the bed, we found each other. In this case our knees were touching. I stared into his face – so brightly illuminated, and listened to his gentle snores.
I traced his features with my fingertips, over and over, as if trying to memorize them. The scars from skin cancer removals and drunken teenage car wrecks…the wiry eyebrows I had promised to trim but somehow had neglected to find the time to attend to. The smooth upper lip that had carried the moustache for so many years that I loved – but that he had come to hate. The lips I had kissed countless times. I knew every pore, every scar, every inch but I kept tracing, studying, reveling in his face so close to mine. He opened his eyes briefly and looked into mine. “You’ll never forget me” he said and gently kissed me…and we fell asleep.
Thirty-six hours later I lay next to my husband in the grassy median of I-80 in Nebraska, under a clear blue sky in the warm sunshine, as paramedics worked frantically over him. I held his hand and looked for the last time at the face I had loved so much for so many years. I whispered my goodbye, and promised never to forget. And I never will.