It’s hard to stay behind in a house where love has gone sour. There are so many memories. A new place is a clean canvas but an old place is a constant reminder of the past and all that was.

I’m sitting outside on the deck my husband built, looking at the angel sculpture he gave me three years ago on Valentine’s Day. Beyond are the raised beds of my garden which we fashioned our first summer, and farther still the well-crafted picnic table he built from discarded lumber. When I look at the hammock, I think of us in it. The tennis balls he gave the dog still hide in tall grass along the driveway, while the forest swing he climbed so high to rope waits down the hill.

Each sight is full of remembered stories, laughter and times of budding promise. I successfully maneuver around these emotional landmines by focusing on other things, but have no defense against the yellow plum tree. That one is unavoidable and goes straight to the heart. It’s a scraggly little thing that sits along the drive. I pass it when I walk up the hill. Most days I stroll past with only a gentle tug near my heart but not today.

Today it stopped me in my tracks, because it’s just now ripening and beginning to display its sun born fruit in radiant shades of delicious. Those plums defined his appetite and the hunger we had for one another. He could not walk past them without plucking great handfuls of over-ripe fruit. His was a balancing act as he made his way to the house loaded with a computer bag, files and tennis gear, topped with as many plums as he could manage – juice already dripping from the corner of his mouth. The plums seemed to define our sensuality and the ripe fullness of that first year when we found such comfort and solace in the body and spirit of one another.

My heart aches at his absence, as I sit trying not to think of him, trying not to dream about him each time I let go of the day and journey into night.

I saw him a few weeks ago and he looked great, much happier and more himself than ever before. Damn! Shouldn’t he be suffering just a little?

In the end incompatibility is no ones fault. It is just there, huge and sad, a reminder that life does not stop giving us endings.

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