Gone, really gone

Gone, really gone
by Andi Lutz

It's true, when you've lost something that's when you really need it, you can't live without it. But when you have it, you toss it to the side and don't even pay attention to it until it's gone.

Well, it was my husband who was always losing things. His wallet, his keys, cell phone, anything, he's lost it. I've told him over and over if you just pick a regular spot to put those things, and always put
them there, you will never lose them. But did he listen? No, because he's a husband and he thinks his way is right.

Today was like every other day. This morning he was running late for an appointment because he misplaced his wallet. I usually make a mental note about where his things are when I see them so when he asks me if I know where they are I can tell him. And this morning I did just that.

But it isn't morning now, it is the evening and I'm home from work opening the mail at the kitchen counter and thinking about what to make for dinner. Maybe I'll make his favorite, breaded pork chops, that sounds good. My cell phone rings, it's probably him telling me that he's on his way home. I recall the last thing I said to him, it was something like, 'You're so annoying, why can't you ever remember anything?' Why do I do that, I could be a little nicer to him. But why can't he remember anything?

I look at my phone and don't recognize the number, I usually don't answer these calls but strangely I did this time. What's said, is something no one wants to hear, he's been in an accident, critical. My mind only picks up pieces of the words that the stranger was saying. It is odd how you notice things you've never noticed before when you're hearing bad news. It's like your mind zones out and focuses on insignificant things in order to help you cope. Like now, in the counter top I can see a multitude of colors bursting out, like a rainbow, instead of the three colors I thought it was made of. How unimportant and odd a thought to have at a time like this. I'm off the phone immediately and already have my route to the hospital planned out without even knowing it. I grab my purse and shove my cell phone in it and go to grab my car keys but they're gone. Gone, where? I look all over, under the mail, on the floor, under the refrigerator, there's no way they would be there, but by now I'm desperate. A scene plays in my head of my husband telling me I should make a spare key for my car in case I need it. At the time I laughed at him, but I never lose MY keys. And now at a time like this I hate myself, him in the hospital and me dismissing his ideas. After all, he was just trying to be helpful.

He's in critical condition, I don't have time to play hide and seek with my keys. I think I've wasted 10 minutes already. I pick up my phone and with shaking hands I call a neighbor I know is home and ask if she can give me a ride. She would but she's out of town, visiting her in-laws for their 50th anniversary. That doesn't happen anymore, 50 years of being married to the same person. How did they do it? Now everyone either gets divorced or one kills the other, whichever comes first. Next call, who? Who do I call? Why don't I have more friends? I'm a loser, I'm anti-social. My husband could be dying but I don't know because right now I am making it about me. I am selfish, I'm a terrible wife. I should be the one in the hospital. I call my mother-in-law. She'll pick me up right now she says on the phone.

Great, so now I have time to kill. That's just what I need. I try not to cry, bracing my hands on the counter and looking into the rainbow of colors I notice a glimmer in the trash can next to the counter. I reach for it and uncover my keys, they must have fallen in while I was moving the mail around and I buried them with junk mail.

I run to the car and on the way to the hospital I call my mother-in-law. But by the time I get there, it's too late, they tell me. He's gone, but where did they take him? No, he's gone, gone, really gone. He just past away minutes ago.

I feel like passing away with him.

I lost more than my keys today. And the last thing I said to him as he was rushing out the door, well, that wasn't important to say. But what was important I did not say.

I didn't say, here is your wallet, honey, have a great day.
I didn't say, I'm sorry.
I didn't say, I can't live without you.
I didn't say, please don't leave me.
I didn't say, I love you.
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