He stared at the wrinkled reflection in the bathroom mirror and wondered where the time had gone. They had celebrated his eightieth birthday the previous week at one of those fancy restaurants with table cloths and extra silverware.

The meal had been excellent. When they got home she had changed into her nightgown and turned on the television in the bedroom. He had put on his pajamas and brushed his teeth. By the time he climbed into bed beside her she was dead.

It wasn’t supposed to end this way. He was supposed to go first. Women lived longer than men…everybody knew that. Besides, he was the one with the elevated blood pressure and cholesterol, a previous heart attack, arthritis, and prostate cancer. It didn’t make sense.

He had gotten through the funeral somehow. The children and grandchildren were on a plane back to the west coast. He would see them again at Christmas. Maybe.

The house was still. He walked over to the bedroom window that looked out over the lake. She had insisted on a view from the bedroom, one that would soothe her mind and spirit as she prepared for sleep. He had built what she wanted and they had made it their home for over fifty years.

Her ashes rested in a beautiful urn that he had placed on her dressing table. When he died, the children would scatter both their ashes over the lake. They would be together in the end.

It was time for bed, but he wasn’t tired. He didn’t want to sleep alone…didn’t think he could.

Her clothes were still in the over-sized walk-in closet. He inhaled her scent and felt the tears drip from his eyes. He selected one of her nightgowns and sat down on the floor with his back against the wall. There was no need to move. Everything he had ever wanted and needed was right here. Nobody lived forever. He closed his eyes.

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