When I got home that night, I noticed the smiling jack-o-lantern in my front yard was crushed. “Hmm”…I shrugged and continued about my business. With the left hand I picked up my key from the pocket and as I put it into the door knob, I sensed the cozy warm-smell of pumpkin pie. I locked the door behind me, almost without thinking of it, and as I climbed up the stairs it felt like I was slowly diverting into a dream.
“Honey…I’m home”, I yelled. She didn’t answer right away, but I knew that that’s all part of the big surprise. I was in for a good treat. I hanged my jacket, jumped out of my shoes, and made my way straight to the kitchen. The dimmed light accompanied by a kind of warmth so long unseen in these surroundings and the already well impregnated smell of pumpkin made the whole scene feel as depicted from one of my long-term memories, when I was yet a child not taller than the counter level at which my grandma is cooking one of my all-time favorite pies and I am drinking milk warmed up in the oven and I’m treated with little slices of dough.
There she is, frenzying up about her business, not even noticing I’m there. With one hand holding the pan, while with the other poking the top of the pie in brief but sharp movements, as to see if the middle is ready yet or not, she is letting her body move in rhythms of a 60s jazz song. I allow my presence to be unnoticed for a little longer, and as I’m enjoying the feast taking shape in front of my eyes, I can’t help but imagine what a life without her would be like.
A sudden melancholy strikes my whole body, and as my eyes become blurry with tears, my heart pondering heavier and heavier, and my hands, still holding the keys feeling weaker and weaker, I make my way up to her, in what it looks like the slowest way possible. It feels like the time has stood still and everything around has stopped breathing. With each step I can feel my body growing heavier and heavier, and the floor underneath being at the margin of succumbing under my own weight. By the time I reach her, I’m already drained of powers, and with what feels like being my last breath I extend my left arm and attempt to catch her hand into mine.
A cold and bitter sensation sharps my chest from thousands of places at the same time, and while I manage to stay intact, I am quickly directed out through the kitchen door, down the staircase and right out there in front of my door with my left hand holding the key into the door knob. I’m still looking at the smiling jack-o-lantern and wondering why is it crushed. I then remember that I crushed in the morning when I realized that this day was exactly one year since she left.