This story has a happy ending, but I am all too aware that it could have ended differently.
Yesterday afternoon, the last with our out-of-town relatives--was lovely. My brother-in-law and his wife came up on their motorcycle. We loaded his wife, my sister-in-law, and her grown daughter in the car, and we followed the motorcycles to Key Largo.
We had a meal at a spot that overlooked water. We watched the boats go by and imagined what it would be like to own a small yacht. The clouds threatened rain but did not deliver. It was a strange time of the afternoon to be at the bar in the Keys, so it was quiet--I love being at bars and restaurants at off hours.
We rode back to my brother-in-law's house and had a brief visit with his grown sons. My spouse headed back to our house on his motorcycle; he had a 15-20 minute head start, since we lingered to finish coffee.
I was surprised when we got back to the house before my spouse. Happily, I hadn't noticed any emergency vehicles on our way back, so I had hopes that there hadn't been an accident. As the minutes ticked by, I wondered if he could have had some sort of vehicle trouble--had he been on the side of the road as we zoomed past?
He had a cell phone, but no calls came. He had the key to the house, so we sat on the porch and listened and hoped.
Finally, after 30-40 minutes, we heard the rumble of the motorcycle. Hurrah! He was safe and sound. This trip was his first with his new eye protection, and he had trouble reading the signs with the glare protecting lenses. He got headed in the wrong direction, and it took time to work his way back.
In the minutes of our waiting, I thought it had probably happened that way, but I was aware that those moments could be my last of my normal, before-the-event life. What if something had happened, and the reason we saw no emergency vehicles was that no one had yet seen his crumpled body and bike off the side of the road?
I thought I would post some of the beautiful pictures I captured before our slight scare, but the camera isn't working this morning. My superstitious mind says, "We traded the soul of the camera to keep my spouse alive." My writer brain wonders how this detail could be woven into a story.
I am happy that this Christmas will not be my first Christmas as a widow. That sounds melodramatic, but some day, it will not be this way. Some day, I will face a holiday when everything has changed radically, and there will be no way back to the old life.
I am happy that barring any unexpected events in the next 2 weeks, I will not be facing that kind of Christmas. This Christmas will be normal. Yearning for a normal Christmas, a mundane holiday, is not the subject of most holiday music--but it could be a great subject for all sorts of writing.