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UNEXPECTED

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UNEXPECTED

Cindy Maddera

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As I sit here typing, it is snowing outside. I am a little surprised by the snow. I wasn't really expecting it because I stopped paying attention to the news or weather earlier this week. So I was unprepared to see everything outside my window look like a shaken up snow globe. I started dreaming of roaring fires in a fireplace and steaming mugs of mulled wine or cider. The idea of lounging in a fluffy bed sounded very appealing. When ever I have thoughts of lounging in a fluffy bed, my mind always pictures that scene from The Little Princess when Sara Crewe wakes to find that the man next door has covered her bed with a beautiful thick and luxuriant comforter. In reality, I am not the type of girl who covers her bed in silks and satins. Nor am I the type for lounging. But there are moments when it sounds like a good idea. It was while I was having these daydreams of snow day activities that my friend Heather called. I hadn't talked to her in a really long time and I'd missed her at Christmas. Her call out of the blue was a welcome surprise and unexpected. She told me about life with a toddler and a new baby and then she told me about cleaning out the toddler's backpack. There was a pocket inside the pack that they never used. It was zipped up, so Heather opened it just to make sure the pocket was empty. She told me that she found the picture of Chris that we'd given out at his memorial. Her intention wasn't to upset me. It was just an odd thing for her to come across so close to the date. As she talked about it, I felt the tears well up and my throat close tight. It was a moment I wasn't prepared for. The tears came upon me like the snow.

Moments before I'd been dreaming of lazy luxury. I'd just sent out a racy email to my boyfriend. And then seconds later, I'm clutching a phone to me ear, nodding answers as if Heather can see me, unable to speak through grief. It never goes away. I think that I always have a handle on in it. I'm in control of this loss. I've come to terms with the missing and that there's nothing to be done or that could have been done. It just is. It's just a part of things, of me. Then comes the reminder that I am not in control of all of it. The difference now is that I feel guilty for the lapse. I feel guilty for everything. I must have been Catholic in a former life. I feel guilty for being happy. It's not that I feel guilty for being happy. I feel guilty for being happy with another man. I feel guilty for grieving over the loss of someone else. I know that's hard for Michael. I know he's jealous of what I used to have. How could you not be jealous of what I used to have? I feel bad any time I've said or done something that may remind him of my life before us.

The good thing that I had in my past does not mean I cannot have this good thing now. I am continuously marveling at my good fortune. I am always practicing being willing to release that guilt and just accept what is. Life flows in a circle. It just so happens that mine is turning out to be a series of circles that resemble a Spirograph, interconnected and full of all the colors. I am lucky to have had those years with Chris. Oh, how he made us all laugh. I am lucky for new love. I won't say second chance because that's not really what it is. It's more like being struck by lightening twice or picking the winning lotto numbers two times in a row.

Maybe I need to buy a lottery ticket.