Fuck Pandora. I have a box of my own. It’s jammed with all my memories of David. Just cracking it open lets every memory fly out free to destroy me yet again. The only way to stop their haunting is to drown them; usually in bourbon but tequila works, too.
The fairytale romance, his eyes, his smile, being cradled in his arms – his gentle strength; it all starts swirling around in my head and the familiar soul-rending returns.
We had argued the year before. He showed up with some ridiculously expensive necklace that he’d chosen only for its price tag. “You don’t buy my love, David.” I told him. Days later he placed a tiny dark citrine around my neck with a story of my eyes reflecting the fire on “our” beach.
For Valentine’s Day that year, I challenged David to celebrate with twenty dollars. “I want your heart, David, not your wallet; I want your time and creativity.”
I planned to give him a mind-altering hot stone massage and make dinner while he recovered. On that cloudy Saturday, I cleaned and prepared my massage room, rarely used since I’d ended my private practice.
He called and asked me to bring a file he’d left at home. I thought I would drop it off and then hit the grocery store. It would work perfectly.
As I got out of my car his head popped up on the roof. “Hey, Beautiful! Can you come up and give me a hand? We need to tighten the straps on the sign.”
Rose petals showered down the roof hatch and I climbed toward David as they rained down, laughing all the way, delighted by the surprise. At the top, there was no sign of him, just a trail of rose petals across the maze-like expanse of commercial roofline.
I found him cross-legged, expectant; my nomadic prince surrounded by cushions, blankets and candles inside the empty 3-sided enclosure built to house a commercial HVAC unit. We watched the sunset seated on the parapet enjoying a modest bottle of wine with the feast of fruit, cheese, meat and bread he’d gathered from home. We had a world unto ourselves up there with a view of the horizon that went on for miles. We slow danced to James Taylor and Don Henley under the first stars. When he led me into our private space the lovemaking was deliberate and reverential; truly a communion of our souls. In the quiet afterward, he produced a thermos of hot chocolate and took care to tuck blankets around my bare shoulders and I lay against his chest listening to his steady heart.
“One more gift, Jennifer” he whispered into my hair just as my body went slack with sleep. I roused and he opened his closed hand to reveal .42 cents remaining.
Nine months later a bullet roared through David’s brain.
Some memories are too perfect and too precious to be allowed to roam free. They must be drowned. Fuck Pandora. I have my own box.