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Echoes of the Moon

In all the years I had known my husband, he never asked anything of consequence of me. Yes, he would ask for my opinion or to help him with a household task, something along those lines, but he never asked me anything important. Basically because I tried to do what was important without being asked and this seemed to work for us, until I was pregnant with our son. We knew we were having a son and were trying to figure out a name for him. I would suggest several and then he would suggest several, but nothing ever seemed to suit. One night going to bed, when I was almost nine months pregnant, he came over to my side to tuck me in. He whispered in my ear, “I would like to name our son.” I looked at him inquisitively. He wanted his son’s first name to be after himself with his middle name being my maiden surname.

He had never before asked me anything of this magnitude and I agreed. He wanted his son to carry on his family traditions as he had done. He insisted that he was but a steward of a genealogical family tradition. This tradition entailed preserving some very special antiques that had been passed down from generation to generation. I knew that my husband wanted his son to have these because William was male and carried his father’s name. But I also knew that it was inherently unfair to our two daughters. We were not living in the fifth century before Christ and this was not Greece and even if we were, I would argue for an equal distribution. I honored his request without pause. These were his prized possessions. These were not mine.

I turned toward William and said, “Let’s ask him. Let’s ask him who he wants to receive his family heirlooms.” William nodded.

I gently touched my husband’s arm and his eyes opened. I asked, “Your son and I are here and have a question for you.”

He turned toward his son and smiled. I asked specifically if his son should inherit the grandfather’s clock. My husband nodded in agreement. I asked if his son should inherit the oak roll top desk. He nodded. I asked if his son should inherit his grandmother’s Steinway piano. Again, he nodded.

William grew impatient and said, “He doesn’t know what he’s agreeing to. He’s just nodding his head.”

I took a slow, deep breath in. “Okay,” I said, “Let’s see.”

I held on to my husband’s arm and he looked directly toward me. I asked, “Dad, do you like girls in bikinis?” He nodded affirmatively.

“Dad, do you like guys in speedos?” He shook his head no.

I laughed. I looked at William. He was satisfied. I smiled, too, thinking we only agreed upon a few of the antiques. William left to play guitar upstairs in his room and I took a seat by the hospital bed and gazed out the bay window past the deck to the backyard. My vision blurred as the tears formed. It was quiet in the house. I heard the churn of the furnace cranking up in the basement. Outside, it was becoming dusk and grey. Twilight was upon us. This was the last day of March and I wondered when spring would return with her warmth. I heard the sheets rustle and turned around to see my husband pulling himself up, his arms using the hospital bed’s guardrails, trying to sit up. Propping himself up with one arm, he reached out with his other arm and extended his hand. He touched the side of my nose where the tears were silently falling and slid his index finger down my cheek, ever so gently. Unable to keep the position, he collapsed back into the bed and closed his eyes. I sat quietly looking at him. As the evening became night, I didn’t move. I didn’t turn on a light. I didn’t move from that position until I heard the front door open with everyone returning from dinner.

Echoes of the Moon
by by Kathryn Clark

  • paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace
  • ISBN-10: 1469904330
  • ISBN-13: 9781469904337