Two weeks ago…
Addison sat at the table looking at her boys as they watched TV in the front room. It was Friday night, girl’s night, and Lynn told her that it was time to clean out her room and decide what to do with Win’s things.
Just the thought of not having Win’s things in their bedroom made her physically sick. She could still go into the closet and pull out one of his shirts to sleep with at night so she could smell him. The house had not changed one bit since Win had passed, in fact, everything still was the same. His boots where still sitting by the sofa like they were waiting for him to come home.
Quietly she wiped a tear that started to fall. The last thing she wanted to do was worry her little guys, they had already seen their mommy crying on too many occasions recently. Lynn was right, as much as she hated to admit it, she had to live life again, if only so her boys can accept their daddy’s passing and start to live their life again to.
Both palms went over her face and then wiped her nose before putting the smile on that she had trained herself to have before going over to the boys. “Okay guys, mommy has some work to do. So, when Aunt Tia comes over let her know I’m in my bedroom.” She told them.
Justin just sucked his little thumb and didn’t even bother to answer; he’d gotten really quiet over the last year. But J.W. had also grown up faster than she wanted. “Okay momma.” He answered.
“That’s a good boy.” She smiled ruffling up his hair and then leaned over to kiss Justin’s chubby cheek. She got up and saw Win’s work books sitting there, and then walked over to get them. J.W.’s little eyes watched her carefully as she did, so she just smiled at him. “Okay boys, if you need me, I’m in my bedroom.” She told them one last time before going down the hall. But once she was out of sight, she fell back against the wall hugging the boots and taking deep breaths willing herself to put them in the Good Will bag that was in her room.
She finally pulled herself together and started towards the bedroom again, but stopped and stood at the door way looking everything over. The bedroom was the exact way that she took Win to the hospital, from the pillows that laid on the floor, to his shirt at the end of the bed, she made sure to put it back in place every time she washed the bedding. It was like in some strange way if she left everything alone, Win was going to come back home to her… but he wasn’t. She walked into the room picking up the shirt from the bed and held it along with the boots as she sat down.
The phone started to ring and heard J.W. answer it. “Momma, Aunt Margie said to tell you that there on their way over!” He shouted.
“Alright sweetheart. Thank you.” She called back, then with a sigh, got up off the bed putting Win’s things in the black bag and went to go wash off her face before the girls arrived.
She turned on the water splashing it over her face a couple times. She pulled out a rubber band from the drawer and started to put her hair into a ponytail, when she glanced over and saw Win’s tooth brush still in the toothbrush holder on the wall. She hadn’t even realized that she never got rid of it. For over a year now it’s been there, and she just now noticed it.
Her hands went to the counter as she shook her head. “He’s not coming home Addison; he’s not ever coming home again. But you have two little boys who need you now, so you need to pick yourself back up and be strong for them.” She told herself, and before she could second guess herself, threw the toothbrush in the trash can. “It’s just a toothbrush, nothing more… and it isn’t Winston.”
Slowly she opened up Win’s dresser and started to take out his shirts, and that’s when Tia waddled in. “Hi, Lynn and Margie are on their way. Lynn wanted to get pizza and beer, but was also picking up some juice boxes.” Her sister explained.
“Yeah, sounds great. We’ll just make this whole thing like freaking party.” She answered, not meaning it to come out as hostile as it did. Tia clammed up immediately, and Addison sighed. “I’m sorry sweetie, I didn’t mean for it to come out that way. I’m not mad, okay?”
“Yeah, okay.” Tia whispered.
With that she got up to go sit next to her sister, who was pregnant again, and took her hand and gave her a small smile. “Have you heard from Howie lately?” She asked.
“Oh yeah, I just got off the phone with him. He said that he wishes that he was home and that him and the guys were really tired.” Tia beamed, and then glanced up staring at Addison. “I guess Jimmy seams really tired to lately.”
“Jimmy, is he alright?” She asked feeling her heart speed up.
“Oh yeah he’s fine. Well, Howie just said he’s been working a lot and needs a break. They’re all worried about him.” Tia explained.
“Oh.” Addison answered with a smile, not wanting to ask any more about Jimmy, and instead just kissed her sister’s cheek and got up off the bed. “I’m going to give you the clothes, and you can put them in the bag for me.” She offered.
Once she got started Margie came walking into the room rubbing her belly. “Well we’re all here. Lynn’s in the kitchen getting the kids their dinner and putting something on the TV for them.” She smiled coming over and kissing Addison on the cheek before sitting next to Tia on the bed. “Wow, you already got most of the dresser done.”
“Yeah, I think the hardest things will be taking off his stuff from the dresser, and cleaning out the closet.” She admitted. “Howie said he’d come over when they came home and help me sort out the garage. And Dax said he would buy something to put all of Win’s guitars in the boy’s room for them. I have a couple other things that I want to keep and put in there as well.”
“Ad, honey, you don’t have to get rid of things on your dresser.” Margie told her.
“I can’t keep his cologne on there Marg, or his deodorant, picks, or spare change.” She answered sitting on the floor. “I don’t know if I’m strong enough to do this.” She admitted softly.
“Damn it, if anyone is strong enough to do this it’s you.” Lynn scolded coming into the room. “Look at everything you’ve survived already in your life.”
“Yeah, but Win was my life Lynn.” She said wiping some tears from her face.
“I know that sweetheart, I really do. But little by little, day by day, you are going to heal Ad, you just have to allow yourself to do so.” Lynn said, but didn’t get anything in return. “Listen, just because you move on with your life, doesn’t mean that you didn’t love Win with all your heart.” Lynn explained. “And I don’t think Win would want you saving his cologne, his guitar picks, and his fucking underwear to remember him by… in fact I know he wouldn’t.” She teased making her and Tia laugh.
“Yeah, okay, you’re right. I’ll only keep the things that meant something to me, or that I think the boys might like for when they get older to remember their father by.” She sighed getting up and taking the cologne from the dresser. She opened it and took one last smell of her playboy, and then threw it into the trash.
After that all four of them started working on the bedroom, well, Margie and Tia, who were very pregnant at the moment, sat on the bed helping with decisions, while Lynn was on the floor with her, going through every. But after the dressers where cleaned out, she looked over at the one place she had been dreading for over a year now.
Lynn patted her on the leg. “Come on Ad, it’s time to just get this shit done.”
“I don’t know Lynn…” She started.
“How about I go through it and you give me the okay to put it in the Good Will bag.” Lynn offered.
“Yeah, okay.” She agreed, and then sat back against the bed.
Half the hangers were empty a half an hour later with only two of Win’s favorite rock t-shirts in the stay pile, while Addison folded everything else and put them in a new black bag. “You know Lynn, that was a great idea to frame Win’s t-shirts and put them up over the boy’s bed’s” Margie said getting back from using the bathroom.
“Well, I don’t know about over the bed, but it will be something they’ll always remember.” Lynn offered. “What do you think Ad?”
“I really like the idea. You know how J.W. likes his guitars.” She grinned.
Lynn started digging through the bottom pulling out boxes of shoes. “How many converses does one man need?” She chuckled and then pulled out one that was a lot lighter than the rest. “What the hell is in this one? I swear if it’s sex toys Ad, I’m kicking your ass!”
“Yeah because putting sex toys in a shoe box was totally our thing.” She laughed taking the box from Lynn. “Oh, I know what this is, it’s Win’s favorite pair of Convers. They quit making these years ago he once told me and he saved his last pair.” She explained, but then opened up the box and there weren’t any shoes in there, but letters.
“What is all that?” Tia asked.
“I, I’m not really sure.” She answered taking the envelope off the top with her name on it. “That’s weird, it’s from Win to me…” She stated opening the letter.
If your reading this letter, that means you’ve found the only secret that I ever kept from you, and I’m really sorry. I wanted to tell you about this box before you ever found it. But now that you have, let me explain myself before you come and find me and ask me what the hell I was doing.
I got the first letter from your ex only a week after we moved to Tennessee. The first thing I thought when I saw it was, he knew where you were, and he was telling you that he was coming to Tennessee to come and take you back. The reason I didn’t tell you was because after everything that you had just gone through… I opened the letter myself.
I read the letter and it wasn’t what I was expecting, and then my fear wasn’t him trying to come down and forcibly take you, but try to win you back from me, and I just couldn’t let him do that. I was about to tear up the letter, but then thought better of it. It wasn’t mine and if for some reason you ever found out that he was writing you, I didn’t want to be the jealous ass who was to afraid he’d lose. So, I tucked it away and didn’t even think about it again.
It was only a couple weeks later that the next letter came and they kept coming for almost a year. I made sure I got to know our postman, and made sure he got a twelve pack at Christmas, and he’d save the letters that came in for you and then give them to me. I hid them away dreading the day that you’d find them, but I knew it would happen sooner or later. I just want to let you know that I didn’t do this to hurt you. But if you’re thinking I did this for myself, your 100% correct. The thought of losing my angel was to much for me.
So, don’t be to mad and remember just how much I love you!
Now with that off my chest, come and find me, or wait till I get home, and tell me what an ass I was to ever be worried about that guy coming to take you away from me.
Love you always,
Addison’s hands fell, still holding the letter in her hands trying to understand what she just read. Then she reached over and picked out the envelope that was already open, and looked at the name on the heading. “Jimmy…” She sighed.
“What are they?” Lynn asked taking both letters from her.
Margie came over taking the letter from her lap and started to read it. “It looks like Win took letters from Jimmy that were sent to Ad.”
“Holy shit, this box if full of letters from Jimmy.” Lynn mumbled.
“Win was afraid that I’d take Jimmy back.” She murmured.
“No, he didn’t” Tia assured her.
But Addison looked at everyone and finally nodded. “Yes, he did. That’s why he wouldn’t tell me about this. He even said as much in his letter.” She clarified.
Lynn came over and sat down next to her. “No sweetheart, well, maybe in the beginning he might’ve. But you can’t blame the guy for that. I mean, Jimmy is who he is, and if the roles were reversed you would have felt a little unsure in the beginning to.” She shrugged. “But I think after the first couple months, and especially after J.W. came along, I think he was secure where your heart was.”
Addison started to shake her head as tears started to fall. “Don’t always think of me like I’m sort of fucking saint Lynn, because I’m not. If he was so damn secure then why wouldn’t he come and show me these letters? You want to know why, because I know… he knew that I still thought about Jimmy!” She argued. “And he was right, I did still think of Jimmy, I still do!” She growled mad at herself and just wanting to get the truth off her chest. “I don’t listen to the radio so I don’t have to ever hear his voice again, it’s just to damn hard. I always missed him, missed what we had, what we were, before everything went to shit… oh my god, I’m such a terrible person!” She cried as her hands went to her face not being able to hold anything back.
Lynn took her in her arms hugging her. “You can love two people at the same time Ad, there’s nothing wrong with that. You can love Win with all your heart, and also love Jimmy with just as much… believe me that’s something I know all too well about.” She sighed. “But just because Win didn’t give you these letters, from the letter I just read, he knew it would come one day. And from the sound of it he knew just how much you loved him.”
Addison nodded. “I did love him Lynn, I loved Winston so much. I never thought I could love anyone as much as I loved Jimmy, but I did.” She confessed. “No look at me. Both are gone! Why did this have to happen? I needed Win, I needed him just like I needed Jimmy, and now their both taken from me!” She sobbed. “I’m like a fucking curse.”
Margie patted Addison’s hair. “Ad, Win might have passed, but Jimmy isn’t gone, honey.” She stated.
“He might as well be to me Margie.” She mumbled. “He’s a famous rock star like he always wanted to be. Yeah, he wanted me, but that was only because we were married and been together most of our lives. Nowadays, I’m sure I’m not even a thought in his head anymore.” She laughed wiping the tears from her face. “We all know that, don’t we?”
“Can I ask you something? And I want you to answer truthfully Ad, no one here is judging you.” Margie asked.
“I guess so.” She shrugged.
“Do you miss Jimmy; I mean really miss him?” Margie asked.
“Why would you ask me that after everything with Win?”
“Because… so, do you?” Margie pushed.
“I miss Winston every moment, of ever second, of every day, but…”
“Yes, I miss Jimmy too. I think back on everything we all were to one another, and I miss my Jimmy.” She whispered. “I turned on the radio once, only because I thought I was being ridiculous not listening to the stations; I mean hearing Jimmy sing a song wouldn’t be a big deal, right? But I was wrong, just like every decision I make. I heard Jimmy’s voice and I just wanted to break down and cry and turned it off.” She admitted and then shook her head. “Do you think he ever thinks about me anymore?”
“Who sweetie?” Margie asked.
There was a silence that was deafening, and then she glanced up at Lynn who was giving Margie some strange look, when Margie cleared her throat. “I need to go make a call… and check on the kids.”
Addison looked over at Tia, who was biting her lip, and then at Lynn, who was acting like nothing was wrong.” What’s going on?” She asked.
Tia shrugged, but Lynn stood up putting the box of letters on the dresser and then came over to help her up from the ground. “First things first. Do you want to keep the letters from Jimmy?”
“Yes,” She answered staring over at the box.
“Okay then, one problem solved.” Lynn winked. “Now, go wash off your face so you don’t freak the boys out and then let’s take a break and get something to eat.”
“Lynn, I’m really not all that hungry…” She started.
“Addison, you look like you’ve dropped another five pounds. I swear to everything that’s holy if you don’t eat two slices of pizza and have some salad, I’m checking your ass into the hospital for an eating disorder.” Lynn growled. “I know you’re sad, hell worse than that, devastated, but I wont just stand by and watch you wither away either.”
Addison forced a smile and nodded. “Okay, you win. I’ll have a slice of pizza and some salad. And I’ll even have some coke just to get you off my back from thinking I’m starving myself.” She sighed.
“Good, but let’s see if you can eat two slices.” Lynn pushed.
“Yeah, okay.” She answered as she walked into the bathroom.