I Miss the Music

I miss how he played guitar.

Today of all days, the middle of August, nearly four years since he left and it's the music that I ache to hear. I can see his tan forearms, strong from years of hanging sheet rock, wrapped around his prized acoustic guitar, the color of wheat.

So, I'm playing his favorite music today. Marc Cohn, Dave Matthews, Habib Koite, Third Day. I hear the steel in the guitar, a rough vibrating sound. I imagine him strumming a new rift–practicing over and over until he's satisfied. His eyes are blue-green from concentration. His lips pressed with a guitar pick in-between tells me he's in his element. This is how I remember him.

I met a woman last week who lost her first husband 45 years ago. Left with three young children, she remarried a year after he died. Her eyes were red as she spoke to me, wet like a sponge. "Even after all this time, I still get choked up," she told me. "You'll never forget, Jennifer. And it'll never make sense."

I miss the music. It doesn't make sense. And I can't even end this entry with a positive lift.  I can't tell you that I will learn how to make music again. I can't tell you that new music makes it better. I can't tell you four years out erases a life-time of love.

There's a photo of us on the wall above my desk. I'm hugging him from behind. His right hand holds my left hand over his heart. My other hand is on his shoulder. His arms are crossed over his chest, the sign-language gesture for "I love you."

His fingers are spread flat the way he probably instructed people when taking fingerprints, making an imprint on mine. He's wearing two wedding bands. Pewter gray. One from the day we were married. The other one he wore when we were stationed with the Peace Corps for two years in Honduras.

We look like we match. Not just his light gray t-shirt pressing against my dark gray fleece. It's more. Our eyes are parallel, holding a message that says he knows me.

I miss his music.

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