His Heart Beat, Again

There is a bottle of my husband’s cologne on the bathroom counter. When I have a moment alone, I remove the lid. With a push of my thumb, a mechanism consisting of a burgundy ball and a metal arm snaps open. It makes a faint clicking sound. I close my eyes and inhale. For 12 seconds I am utterly, blissfully lost in his memory…

My cheek rests on the chest of his favorite sweater that is imbued with his cologne. I idle here, for under the sweater is him. Roger. I feel the soft, prickle of the wool and his arms are around me. Subtler tones rush my reptilian brain. His aftershave. His soap. The detergent that I used to wash and fold his t-shirts and jeans…. I hear his heart beat again.

Too soon, I feel the cool glass bottle in my hand, the bottoms of my bare feet pressing on the unyielding tile floor, my empty arms, the crushing grief. I open my eyes and recap the bottle.

I am afraid that if I enter this world too frequently, this magical talisman will lose its power. Roger will be replaced by the mundane, the literal. Cold glass, hard tile. It will become only what it appears to be, a bottle of green liquid. The tactile memory will be gone.

 I open a window.