We lie in bed in the darkness, a slight breeze swaying the wooden blinds that clap against the window. The TV, with its familiar blue glow, hums a comforting white noise that normally lulls us to sleep each night. But tonight, neither of us have drifted off to sleep yet, our minds wandering - probably to very different places - both trying to trick our brains into turning off and resting; to fall into sleep and give way to dreams.
"What would you do with my stuff if I died?" He breaks the semi-silence.
It seems our minds were in similar places. Having just watch "Brothers" on pay-per-view, I realize the heavier moments must have resonated with him too.
Why I chose to watch it, I don't know. I knew better. I don't need intensity and triggers. I need funny. But I watched. And I suffered while I watched as though it were me in that movie and that were my husband in that movie and those were my kids in the movie and dammit, I knew better than to watch it, but I did anyway.
"I don't know," I finally say, knowing exactly where this innocent question about a small part in a movie will lead. I immediately know what conversation we're about to have. It's The Talk I don't want to have but can't be avoided forever.
"I would probably have a hard time getting rid of it, I suppose," I surmise.
"Yeah, but you would need to. You would need to move on." Normally I hate when he's all logic and no emotion but for the sake of this conversation, I welcome it.
"Well, that's easier said than done and I would have a hard time getting rid of your things. I'd probably keep them. It would feel wrong to throw them out."
"What do you want done with your things?"
The question cuts open a wound I have spent almost four years sewing shut every. single. day. with my psychological needle and thread.
Sure, it's an honest enough question and it's a good question and if I'm being logical it's only fair that he asks and I answer and we get it all out there.
But I have trouble getting the words past the lump in my throat. I will away the lump in my throat.
I begin shallowly, hoping to remove the emotion from it. "Well, my camera equipment and stuff... Let the boys have it. I mean, I know it's expensive and they're not quite old enough to take care of it, but let them experiment with it - especially E-man - they might as well."
It's harder than I imagined. Even the thought of my sons viewing life without me through the lenses I capture their lives through makes me physically ache and unravel as I lie there in the darkness.
I continue, only because I'm not sure I'll have the courage to have this conversation again.
"And I want you to keep my wedding ring for one of the boys to give to their wife."
"That would be hard to choose which kid gets it..."
"I don't care who - just whomever you think needs or wants it. I don't care really at all, just don't bury it with me. And I do want to be buried because the idea of burning a body sickens me."
I feel nauseous and empty and as though the light that had been slowly, finally, brightening within me is flickering and failing again and I hope I'm doing my best to make it sound like this - this conversation where I contemplate my death - this isn't that big of a deal.
"Oh, but god, do not let anyone bury me in a dress. I would hate that," I try.
"I know," he laughs. "Jeans and a hoodie, of course."
"Yes. And Uggs. I want to wear my Uggs."
"And no bra, right?"
"Definitely no bra."
He gets me. And he senses my sadness, letting the conversation go. He got bits and pieces of what he needs to know and I roll over, a ploy to search for comfort in crying silent painful tears I hope he cannot hear or see in the darkness of our bedroom as I mentally thumb around for my needle and thread so I can start stitching back up the wound.