By Missy Gallant <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted February 2000
Summary: On his first Valentine's Day alone after Lois's death, Clark receives a comforting delivery.
He buried her in the late summer, when the hint of changing seasons were present in the early morning dew and the first signs of approaching autumn were evident in the carmel-colored grain tips of field grasses. He woke up two days before with her still curled next to him, one hand on his chest, her cheek on his shoulder. That was the way they slept, always touching, always connecting even in sleep induced unconsiousness. He knew as soon as he awoke that she was gone. Her heartbeat was the first sound that he was aware of, the lack of it that morning was louder than anything he had encountered before in his life. The days following her death were a hazy blur, part of his soul had died with her, the light that sparked in his eyes was her and the lamp had gone out. He passed most nights awake or in a fretful sleep, her touch was a soothing anchor that kept him grounded, and it was no longer there to comfort him.
It was Valentine's Day, the first one spent apart for over fifty years. He had been to visit her that morning, spreading a small blanket over the thin overlay of crusty snow, groaning softly as he lowered himself to the ground. His bodily strength was waning swiftly ever since she left, her lifeforce had kept him fed spiritually and physically; now it was gone. He laid a large bouquet of spring flowers at her headstone and a box of her favorite chocolates were propped up along side of it. He spent the first hour in silence, just like when she was alive, never needing to speak, just enjoying the presence of each other's company. Then the dams broke, all the longing and loneliness he felt was poured out as he told her how much he missed her, needed her and loved her. Then he reminisced about their life together, remembering and savoring every precious moment together. Spent out and getting cold, he departed.
Later toward early evening there was a knock on the door. The delivery man apologized profusely saying there was almost an oversight; these were to be delivered today and the order was overlooked until about an hour ago.
He had a dozen red roses. Clark accepted them questioningly and after the man had left, he opened the card that was nestled among the green foliage. With trembling hands, he opened the note. It was Lois' handwriting.
He took a deep breath and read:
Dear darling husband,
Happy Valentine's Day Sweetheart!
If you are reading this, I know I am not there physically with you this year on our special day and I couldn't bear the thought of you feeling alone. Sweetheart, words escape me when I reflect back on us, the love that bounded beyond all dimension, our beautiful children, grandchildren and now great grandchildren, but most of all I feel privileged just to know you Clark, your enormous kindness and great capacity to just love and accept me for who I am. My darling, don't be sad that I am gone, I believe with all my heart that our love will continue even after we have both left this earth.
Thank you for all the wonderful years of love and devotion you gave me. You truly were the man I never thought I would meet.
Now, you know me, did you think I would pass up the chance to get the last word in? I had to tell you one last time, I love you.
With all my heart, soul and love,
He was amazed at her ability to surprise him, even beyond the grave. A single tear rolled down his cheek and its landing spread out in a sunburst pattern on the note. It was just like Lois to think of him , just like her to anticipate what he was experiencing and somehow find a way to reach out to comfort him.
Clark set the roses lovingly in a vase as though the flowers were physically connected to her. He placed them by his bedstand, paused and withdrew a single rose from the bouquet. Laying down on their bed, Clark kissed the rose tenderly, clutched it to his chest and fell asleep deeply for the first time since she passed away.