When the phone rings again, I let it drop into voice mail.
I open a new file on my computer and start typing what to say to the Herald reporter about the patch story. This is a trick I employ when I have to make a nerve-racking media call: Type my story pitch or sound bite in all caps, then follow the script.
MUST PATCH THIS ALL UP. HA, HA, HA!
I remember when I first joined the company how I felt I was finally making it in Silicon Valley. I stood in the coffee line chatting with the women from marketing, all of us wearing cute but sensible chunky black pumps, my day planner bulging, my checkbook balance growing, my self-esteem swelling. But now I feel like an impostor in a cubicle-like the artificial crabmeat of public relations managers. Then there's the fact that I have to say "scrotum" to people all the time. Is this really the color of my parachute? If Ethan were alive, I'd call him and we'd meet for lunch. We often did this when one of us was having trouble at work. We had a knack for solving each other's job quandaries, maybe because our ignorance of each other's fields made us objective. Sometimes he'd pick me up after work and I'd be so flustered by this new job, I was ready to quit and start a yard service. By the time we got home, though, Ethan had me laughing and contemplating a solution.
Of course, I can't call my husband. (But why not! What good is all this technology if you can't call a deceased loved one? Who cares if you can buy movie tickets and bid for antiques on-line if you can't dial up your dead husband?)
The cursor on my computer screen pulses impatiently, and the red voice mail light on my phone flashes. My stomach growls and my head throbs. But I can't call my husband. Because, here's the thing: I am a widow.
From Good Grief by Lolly Winston. Copyright © 2004 by Lolly Winston
Blood at the Root
"A gripping, timely, and important examination of American racism."
- PW Starred Review
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