The Years That Were Erased
One-shot It is the one year anniversary of the death of Sarah Black, Jacob's mother, and Billy goes to visit her with a heavy heart.
1. The Years That Were Erased
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He stood looking over the cold, granite stone, watching the tiny drops of water run down its smooth surface in small rivers. The water began to pool in the indented areas of the inscribed rock. He leaned down and wiped the liquid, with a quick motion of his hand, off the stone, like wiping away of the tears that he had been guarding behind his eyes for some time now.
It had been a year now.
One year since she had left too soon and too suddenly.
It would have been the eleventh wedding anniversary just three days prior to this day. But instead of celebrating, he was here, on this hollow ground, mourning the first anniversary of his loss.
Billy's hair was wet and sticking to the back of his neck, as the chilling wind blew through the cemetery, pushing a flood of raindrops toward him. He put out his hand to try and block the bombardment, but alas, it did little good.
In a moment, of what seemed like madness, he felt the need to cover and protect the resting place of his lost love. Before he could think, he already had his frayed, waterproof jacket (the last piece of the clothing she had picked out personally for him) and was placing it tenderly over the tombstone.
His wife's voice floated with a warm light on the freezing wind, telling him of his foolish ways. And though he knew it was only a figment of his imagination, he knew it was impossible to think she was alive once more and speaking with him. But still he listened, waiting to reply.
"Darling," the hushed, whisper of his lost love called. "It's far too cold for you to have your jacket off."
With quivering fingers, he removed the jacket from the small monument of his wife and put it back on gingerly.
He closed his eyes, soaking in her spirit flowing through him. After a moment of shaking faith that she was with him in spirit once more, he replied with an unsure luster.
"I'm sorry..." His next statement was at first incoherent, but then formed into something genuine, yet general. "I've missed you greatly. We've all missed you greatly."
Standing there, with the rain cascading down upon him, Billy could feel spirit waiting to hear of what had gone on with the family she left so abruptly. She was becoming impatient as she tried to urge him onward with the information on how he and their children were doing. The children are quite young and her motherly instinct told her that her separation from them had not been easy.
Knowing in the back of his mind she wanted to hear of the children, he began to ramble on about them. He wasn't entirely sure what she wanted to hear, so he decided to cover the basics.
"Rach and Becca are doing well in school. Straight A's for both of them on their report cards. They're trying out for the PTA basketball league in a week. I know they'll make it. Everyone makes it, but I'm just glad to see them doing something productive, you know."
The silence was deafening, but he knew for certain, he had captivated his invisible audience and was holding her there with every word he spoke. He took note of how the leaves would rustle in a particular way anytime he mentioned one of the kid's names. She was alerting him of her presence like she always used too.
"Oh, and Jake." He stopped to let out a short chuckle. "He's turning into quite the kid. He's getting into things more than he used to, and there's really no stopping him. I always find him in the strangest hiding places just sitting there laughing. It's...interesting..."
His thoughts drifted, and the smiled faded from his lips. Glancing up at the darkened clouds above him as the moved off into the distance he could see the sky slightly clear up. His voice became solemn as he spoke now.
"He asks about you sometimes. Questions like ‘When's momma coming home?' and ‘Where is momma?'. There times I just don't know how to answer him... Rachel and Rebecca have been a huge help with him, but they can't fill the void. I know it's hard for all of them..."
Billy let his lips close, meshing his finally syllables into a whispered pile. His thoughts couldn't put anything into a coherent form, so instead he stood watching the stone as if it would do something.
The rain had lightened up, as if Sarah was pushing it away just for him personally. He smiled, nodding at the headstone.
Her phrases were silent, but there symbolic meaning rung loud in Billy's mind. She was promising better days. She was always watching them, protecting them from harm. She was the invisible guardian angel that would always be the wonderful mother of his children and his loving wife.
"I know," the usual warm tone returned to his voice, "Everything's going to be fine. You always say that."
The wind picked up, blowing past him quickly. It encompassed his body and hugged in an affectionate, tender way. The way a woman in love hugs her lover.
"I love you too." He pretended in his mind to pull her closer. "Always have and always will. Forever and ever. You remember that, right? Our wedding? You kept on refusing to recite the vows, so instead we just decided to repeat those words. They're beautiful words."
The wind wore down into a breeze, leaving him alone once more. The chill of the air was beginning to heat up as the wind passed. It was getting late, and Billy needed to go pick up the kids from their respective places, the girls at school and Jacob at daycare.
He took a fleeting glimpse at the wet tombstone as he proceeded to walk away, his hands pushed deep into the pockets of his jacket. His back hunched as he ambled toward his car at the very end of the cemetery.
A year without her had truly made his heart grow fonder, but there wasn't any way of bringing her back.
She was gone.
A year later he still missed her.
And now he realized he had been wrong. Three days before wasn't their eleventh wedding anniversary.