Sam woke early the next morning and lay in bed for a while thinking of what lay ahead. He decided he would go out and treat himself to a nice breakfast. After showering he got dressed and spent some time with Johnny’s photos. As he was headed out he noticed his morning papers had piled up. Having been immersed in his preparations for the past couple of weeks he had had neither the time nor the inclination to keep up with what was going on in the world.
He put all but the latest one in the recycling bin and glanced at the front page as he walked to the car. His heart skipped a beat when he noticed the date in the corner. He had somehow gotten ahead of himself. It was a day earlier than he thought. He stopped in his tracks and thought about what to do. He had lost his appetite so he turned around and went back in the house.
He made himself a cup of coffee and then sat down and sighed. How had he managed to not keep the days straight in his head? He had prepared himself mentally for this and now it would have to wait until tomorrow. Not only would one of the detectives not be at the station, at least not according to the roster he was keeping track of, but also it was tomorrow and not today that was the anniversary of Johnny’s demise.
Nothing else mattered more than completing his task on that most important of dates. It was to be the culmination of one long year of bearing the pain of the indignity and the horrible unfairness of Johnny’s death. As he watched his coffee go cold the phone rang.
It was his ex-wife. He was unprepared to hear her voice and yet it made sense. Tomorrow was the anniversary of course she would call.
“Hello Emily. It’s been quite a while.”
“Sam, I know, but I just wanted to see how you were doing. What with tomorrow being…” She trailed off, unable to bring herself to say it.
“What can I say, Emily? Today is no different than any day for me. You should know that.”
“I was just wondering if you were going to visit tomorrow. I’m going to go – “
“You know I can’t bring myself to do that Emily. He lives on in my heart. It takes too much out of me to see that stone. I’m not enough man for that.”
There was a long silence. It had been another bone of contention between them. She had gone many times to the cemetery and he had gone but once since the funeral. He couldn’t bring himself to face it. He preferred the photos he kept on the dresser.
“Sam, you are a warm and capable man. Please don’t put yourself down.”
He thought for a moment. He wanted to tell her something, but he didn’t know how to go about it without giving himself away. At last he closed off.
“I’ll be there with you in spirit Emily. I’m sorry, I can’t be there in form.”
“Well all right then Sam. I’ll be thinking of you. Goodbye.”
He hung up and stared at the phone. Oh, you’ll be thinking of me all right Emily. Tomorrow will be a very big day indeed.
Part 4 Tomorrow