I haven’t eaten oatmeal since my boyfriend Kevin died five and a half months ago. The oatmeal retreat wasn’t conscious.
Today, I woke up thinking I want oatmeal. I didn’t feel especially hungry, more compelled. The temperature here in Ohio is in the mid-70s. It’s summer, but it feels like a fall day. I’m wearing Kevin’s flannel shirt.
I take a bite of the oatmeal I made. I’m mentally transported into his kitchen. How many times did I see him stand at that shitty old stove making oatmeal?
He ordered a new stove once. I somehow convinced him to cancel it. I later realized I was manipulating him. He wanted to make his place a home for me and I was afraid he would.
So, when Kevin ordered carpet in February, I stood in the store anxiously petting samples. I played nonchalant as Kevin tried to include me in decisions. He signed the paperwork. We went home—to his house—with the carpet samples. Together, we picked a final color of carpet that would never be installed. A dead man doesn’t need new carpet.
How can he be dead after eating all that oatmeal, doing all those workouts, and being so damned handsome? He looked healthy and lived vibrant.
At least you can see a falling star fading. Kevin’s light never dimmed. It just went out.
Life is unpredictable. Who knew eating oatmeal today could take me back? I didn’t even like his oatmeal!
I didn’t like his house, except for because it was his. I didn’t want to live in St. Louis and certainly not out in the country.
Now, the memory of my man standing at his stove making oatmeal and sitting down next to me at his new little round table in his kitchen warms like home in my heart. A home I lost.