Tracey woke up sprawled across the half-empty bed; languishing in the beam of early morning sun that splashed across the pillows. She stretched and tried to remember what her last dream had been. She could not recall its content, yet she knew it must have been sweet due to the smile she awoke with.
It was lazy mornings like this that made it not so bad when Gary had to travel for work; sometimes for weeks at a time, as was the case currently. It seemed as though he had been travelling more and more recently, but that was to be expected when you are upwardly mobile in a company. Still, she loved him and missed him dearly, which is why she felt guilty on days like this, where the empty bed felt more a treasure, than a sad reminder of his absence.
As she lay in the sun basking in its warmth she recalled her conversation with Gary from the night before with a smile. They spoke every night before bed while he traveled, each night as sweet and loving as the last. He was currently in Europe this trip, trying to save some company from going under, something to do with mismanaged funds. Gary had hoped that the trip would not be long, however, according to the last conversation things were going from bad to worse. All he knew was that he had weeks left at least. Tracey knew it would be tough, but they would get through it. They always did.
She suddenly sat up in bed, her dream smile still beaming, even as the fog of sleep was slipping away. She remembered that as they were speaking last night Gary had said that he had sent her a package that should arrive today. He would not tell her what it was, not even a hint, but he seemed excited and begrudged the fact that he could be there to see her face when she opened it.
This new mystery added a spring to her step as she jumped out of bed to head for the shower. She paused by the full-length mirror on her way to check herself from head to toe. There was more silver mixed with her auburn hair than yesterday, yet it still looked great falling just past her delicate chin to frame her porcelain features. Her blue eyes sparkled even as she noticed new wrinkles framing them and her mouth. She stepped back, smiling as she took in the full picture. Her body was still lean, even if the skin did seem a little looser in some areas. Still, she thought she looked pretty fit for a 53-year-old, leaning in closer she bared her teeth in the mirror and gave them a good once over. Seeing that all looked good, she headed off to the shower and the start of her day.
Taking her time, she slowly dressed and went into the kitchen to grab a cup of coffee. The whole kitchen and breakfast nook were flooded with early November sunshine. She raised her black coffee to her nose and inhaled deeply, letting her eyes close and body warm in the sun again for the briefest of moments as the earthy, spicy notes of the coffee gently chased away the rest of the morning fog; bringing in focused alertness, walking over to the round glass table of the breakfast nook, she let her eyes roll across the cluttered chaos sitting upon it.
Normally this type of mess would drive her crazy, however, this was her mess, and a mess of love. For the past year Tracey had been using each business trip as a chance to chronicle and scrapbook their 19-year marriage. In a sense the trip being extended was a bit of a blessing. She had been feeling rushed trying to finish it before Gary got back, and she hated feeling rushed. Now she had time to finish it calmly to be able to surprise him for their twentieth anniversary when he got home.
She sat at the table and grabbed a stack of movie stubs and tried to organize them chronologically. This proved to be tough on two fronts. The first being the wave of memories that would whisk her away as she remembered each date. The other issue was her mind constantly wondering what Gary could have sent her.
Their anniversary was in three weeks, hopefully he would make it back in time. 20 years; it seemed so quick, yet the stacks of memories laid out before her on the table told another tale.
To be continued...