Robin Danika Klajic

Until Next Time

by Jill-Leach-Klajic

 

For the most part, I am a happy, content, productive, well-adjusted woman. I am in love with my wonderful husband. When we have the choice we always prefer being with each other. We love, laugh, sing, hold hands and talk for hours about nothing. Our lives are pretty carefree. Taking care of one another is our top priority.  Ninety nine point nine percent of my life is perfect.

When that point one- percent catches up with me, I am always caught off guard. There is no way I can plan for it or thwart it off. 

It strikes without any warning. It usually begins in the dark of the night.  An uneasy feeling in the bottom of my stomach wakes me. Then I feel this fear filled knot growing, like a big black heavy fist. Gnarled and angry the fist begins its climb into my throat. Passing by my heart that is pounding so loud I am afraid it can be heard outside the bedroom. I try gasping for breath, but can’t. I struggle to set up. My throat is ready to burst open, my heart is racing fast and hard.  Why can’t I scream? My eyes search for something in the dark to help me focus. Nothing is there, just the pain and the spinning. The fist has moved slowly to the back of my throat. What seems like hours is only a few seconds and then it happens, a noise, a high pitched shrill faint little noise, squeezes its way out of my mouth.  Tears scowl the back of my eyes.  Another noise escapes; this one is a low pathetic rumble. I am filled with such pain that I wish for death. Then it’s out, “I miss you, I miss you, oh God why, why can’t you just send her back home, please just give her back”. The tears pool around my face on the pillow. The knot, the big black heavy fist slowly releases its grip and I begin to feel relief. I can breathe. It has past. I can see tomorrow. I can forgive. Once again, I can see tomorrow and my otherwise perfect life appears once again...... until next time.

Best Friends Once Again
By Jill Leach-Klajic



By 8 am the five women had arrived at their destination. The wind was cold and the mist felt like rain on the five co-conspirators as they approached the edge of the hillside.
    That morning had begun abruptly with the alarm sounding and at the same time Carol shouting, “It is 6 o’clock everyone get up!”  The first thought in Janet’s mind as she slowly awoke was the chore they had before them.
    The five newly re-aquatinted friends drove over to the Coast from the Central Valley the day before. They had arrived at their motel early, and they stayed up late reminiscing. It seemed to help to go over and over the events of the last few days. Each time one of them would remember something new or think of something they wished they would have said or done differently.
    “You know Janet, Michael never stopped loving you. He told me once how proud of you he was and that you had done some exciting and important things with your life.” confided Lynne the oldest of Michael's sister’s.  All agreed that Michael seemed aware of how Janet was doing, but no one was sure where he got his information.
    “How after all these years can you get me to do crazy things? You always had to walk on the edge of everything, didn’t you?  Dang! Michael, this is dangerous. One of us could get hurt.” Janet spoke to Michael as if he might answer. She was nervous and scared, but mostly sad as she braced herself out on a cold slippery rock some 20 feet below the top of the rugged cliff. Michael’s sisters waited anxiously on the hilltop. She held tight to her package and waited for the perfect big wave.
    Janet had spent the last 38 years in the city and had only recently moved back to her hometown. It had been just a few weeks when she received the telephone call from her friend. She had heard from Janet’s former husband Michael. He had a heart attack a few days before and was asking everyone to please find her.
“He lives here in town? Why didn’t you ever tell me? What hospital?” Janet asked.
    After Janet divorced Michael she often wondered what had become of him and for years she thought that maybe he would come to the city looking for her. Michael had always asked her friend, Gale about Janet, he would listen to every word of news that Gale felt comfortable revealing. Janet on the other hand had never asked about him. She was not sure Janet would be interested in a man she had not as much as mentioned to her in over 36 years.  But she promised Michael that she would at least ask her, if she would like to see him.
    That evening when Janet walked into the hospital room, they struggled for a few moments with their first hello, and then it was as if they had been close friends and confidants all their lives.  The laughter and memories flowed from the room and down the halls. Nurses and his doctor came in to see the x-wife that actually came to visit after so many years of separation.
    “Well tell me Mr. Sanders, what have you been doing with your life for the - well, lets say the last 38 years?” Janet teased.

    “Waiting for you to come back” was Michael’s almost expected reply.
    Another nurse walked into the room, “You are really here, and you really came. We didn’t believe him.”
    “She’s here, I told you she would come! Doesn’t she look like an angel?”  Michael beamed.
    “No one believed him.  He told us he found his long lost wife and she was coming to visit. He insisted on us finding his Levis and tennis shoe. We spent most of the day fixing him up.” As the nurse was leaving the room he shook Janet’s hand and said, he didn’t think his x-wife would give him the right time of day even if he were giving her a million dollars. “We are all really happy you came, he sure wanted to see you,” He added.
    “I was really afraid you hated me and you wouldn’t come,” Michael confessed.
    Janet held his cold thin hand to her face “I have no reason to hate you. We were just young and I couldn’t see you ever settling down.  I wanted the yellow house and white picket fence and you wanted wild dangerous, crazy adventures. You were my best friend and I missed you a lot for a very long time.”
    The following weeks went by quickly for Janet. She spent all her free time at the hospital. Michael’s heart was slowly giving up. He died quietly one morning, while Janet and his sisters went out to rent a hospital bed so they could take him home to die.
    The night before Michael had whispered to Janet that he would like for her to take his ashes and pour them by the “Big Tree.”

The cold wind swept another misty shower into Janet’s face. She carefully tore at the heavy tape around the lid of the black plastic box.  
    “Boy! I think you are heavier now than you were in the hospital,” She gently pulled the bag of ashes from the box.  Another wave hit the rocks splashing the icy seawater over her.
    “I hope you are enjoying this mister.”  Janet took the wet bag and held it close to her body, “Oh, Michael I am so glad I found you. I would have hated to think you died believing we were enemies.  Okay kind heart, it is time to let you go.” She tore the bag open and braced herself again for the next big wave. As it approached she slowly began to pour his ashes into the ocean below the big Cypress Tree, where they had once shared a picnic lunch on their honeymoon. The wave slapped against her body and as it ran out to sea with Michael’s ashes, the wind caught the bag and blew a hand full of ash back over Janet. Her first reaction was panic and then calm, a warm feeling filled her body. She wrapped her arms around herself to embrace Michael’s last touch.
    “I guess we will just sit here a little longer and share the breeze and the beauty of our Big Tree.” Janet watched quietly as the next wave picked up its force and as it swept over her, she felt Michael let go as his last ashes washed out to Sea. After a few moments she turned to start her climb back up the steep hill, she felt peace and the fear and dread that she had felt earlier was gone.
    Just a few short weeks ago Michael had thought they were enemies and she had long given up the thought of ever seeing him again.  Who would have ever imagined that they would once again become best friends?