Marcus woke in the dark, Eva’s arms wrapped around him. He felt the warmth of the fire in the small bed they planned to share, before she took ill.
“Do you remember when we lay like this?” she asked him.
“Mmm, yes. We were expecting Jack. You were too hot, so you pushed me away, but you ended up holding on like a limpet.” Marcus smiled to himself.
“Of course I remembered. That’s when I wrote Ave Amata.”
“You never read that one to me you know.” She said.
“I did, but I called it ‘The Island’.”
“Oh, I liked that one. Tell it again.”
Marcus grumbled something about it being silly because no one could hear.
“Sillier than writing a poem for your wife that parallels the Hail Mary?”
“Well, no. But-“
“Then say it, you might feel better and be able to start writing again.”
“You know about that huh?”
“Of course I do. I’m not really here. I’m just a ghost of a thought of a memory. Haven’t you noticed I’m talking more like you do? Giving explainations and being sentimental? I was always more sharp-tongued than this, even though you never could see it. You’re the one who has to be so rational about everything. Besides, I’m funnier than you write me.”
“I don’t know. There’s work to be done tomorrow,” he said.
“There’s always work do be done Marcus. You’ve done it. Your food and fire will last the winter and possibly into June if you’re careful. There’s paper in the outhouse and extra newspapers just in case. Ten seconds won’t make or break your sleep.”
“Fine. But just because I know you and you won’t rest until you’ve had your story.” He said.
Then marcus spoke aloud for the first time of the exchange as he said,
“Beautiful Soul, Full of grace
Who lies beside me silent.
In your arms I am at peace
And know I am no Island.”
He never felt the moment her presence left, but he did feel the ache of loss that had been with him every night since Eva’s passing. No longer able to feel her arms, he wrapped the blankets tighter and went to sleep, alone.