This is the tenth Valentine's Day I've spent without my own Valentine. It's easier than it was the first one.
The first one, he'd been gone six months, and I was really sad to be without him. It had been getting better, but Valentine's Day is the day of the year you really want your sweetheart with you.
I had cried off and on all day. Not the big, sobbing kind of crying, just the kind that catches you off-guard and has the tears flowing again. Memories that flash suddenly, without warning, and puts that lump back in your throat.
I cried a bit as I went to sleep that night. As is common among those of us who are 'a certain age', I woke in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. I was still sure-footed enough that I didn't turn on the light. Coming back, in the doorway from bathroom to bedroom I stepped on something soft and furry. I backed up a half-step and turned on the bathroom light. It was a small stuffed rabbit which a friend had given Jim when he was in the hospital. There it was, in the path I had taken a minute earlier.
I stopped telling people this story when they started saying, "It must have been there before. You just didn't notice it." Yeah, right. A stuffed animal was on the floor in the doorway to the bathroom and I just didn't notice it. I guess that's as likely to some people as the thought that Jim put it there for me.
The rabbit sits on the old trunk that serves as my nightstand. It's been there for ten years now.
Some people will say it was just a coincidence it appeared there on Valentine's night.
I say it was Jim letting me know he is still close by.