Dear Walt,

This getting up and writing to you has become a thing. I check my—sorry, our—book sales from the day before, see my Facebook ad spend, adjust accordingly, then look at my inbox and social media notifications while drinking my coffee. Sometimes I make it. Sometimes our son in law has beat me to the pot. The dogs go out, do their thing, then come back in to sleep some more. I think about sleeping some more, then think about all the words I need to be writing instead.

It’s pretty much the same routine I had before December 21st happened except then you were making the coffee and you were dealing with the dogs. You often let me sleep way too late. Other times you brought me coffee to wake me. This was the case pre-Harvey, too. You liked my company. You wanted me with you. That brings a smile to my face even as I type to you.

There were THINGS happening on the Internet you’d read and wanted to tell me about. There were pieces of Icefall that had come to you while you’d slept. I loved our mornings. The quiet noise if that makes sense. The day’s hustle and bustle (did our days ever hustle or bustle?) had not yet begun and we had no interruptions and I really really miss those mornings with you.

Thing is, these mornings aren’t too shabby. It’s taken five weeks to get here, five weeks since December 21st happened, but I’m settling in to what my mornings now are without you. I don’t wake… only to be slammed again by the reality. The reality has set in.

I’m a widow.

That’s the first time I’ve typed that, said that. It’s so weird to see, to say the words.

I’m not sure what it means to be a widow. Obviously, I understand the word’s definition, but if I were asked I would say I’m married to you. I wear my ring. I have your ring and a sizer to fit it to my finger so I can wear it, too.

You never wanted a ring. You’d never worn one. You thought it would be uncomfortable, get in the way, hinder whatever you needed to do with your hands.

Do you know how very very much I miss your hands? Every hero I write has them.

I remember the day twenty years ago when you took me to James Avery. It was your decision. It was a surprise. I think it was a weekend when your son was with us and we went to the mall. Back when we did things like go to the mall. You’d already picked out what you liked. You who didn’t want to ever wear a ring. They were simple matching silver bands. They were perfect.

I remember, too, when you lost yours not long after we married. You’d dropped me at the park ‘n’ ride to catch the bus downtown to work. You’d stayed to play Frisbee with our dog, Smith. There was a small grassy esplanade. You tossed the Frisbee and your ring flew off. You took Smith home, I think, then went back and walked the esplanade in a grid. It took two hours but you found it. That ring you had never wanted to wear. That simple silver wedding band that matched mine.

That still matches mine.