… And, when he shall die, take him and cut him out in little stars. And he will make the face of Heaven so fine that all the world will be in love with night. And pay no worship to the garish sun.
– Shakespeare’s Juliet, in Romeo and Juliet
She craves the big Out. Ever since he passed a decade ago, she has languished. She did not unduly grieve the loss of the second, though her children came to respect him more than their own progenitor. Married more for security in that temerarious time as her generation was inclined to do – throwing body and soul into the ring of Another, hoping to heal the gaping wound that was her heart. Never did, or could.
The first was toxic. She did not care. Only later she was made to feel a fool unless she turned him out, achingly severing that twisted umbilicus that kept them fused to their dynamic for thirty years. It did not matter who suffered; indeed she defended his actions over the bruised bodies of innocents. Conspired with him, jealous of sharing his affection. What mother would not advocate for her own offspring? You might well ask.
She lies there now, waiting. Meals and meds; intermittent, inconsequential slumber. For years her faith proved enough. Now questions arise in the narrow interstices of her mind where platitudes fail. At this point of no turning back. She has let it all go, no energy left to muster into living. But what If? What if It isn’t what they say, and they never meet in the Hereafter?
Her head slumps onto slack shoulders, her gait wobbling, unsteady. Nothing rallies her any more– not the Hollywood gossip, not Broadway or Tiffany’s. It was ever things that granted islands of pleasure, weighting down the surges of abandonment threatening to swamp her under. People demanded too much of what she simply was not prepared to give.
Perhaps it was destined to end. Maintain that intensity any longer and the ride alone would have killed her – but oh, what a glorious way to go! To pierce the numbing veil, savor the adrenaline of uncertainty; to never know, to ever seek, to fasten onto the dream, to awaken from the nightmare that was him! To awaken from the pall of her nowhere life, into Him.