George lay in bed, watching the sun rise between the buildings across the street from his house. Another day dawned, another day of doing it, waking the kids, getting them off to school and advance through the day under the pall of her ghost. It was well over a year since her funeral, and there were still all those small reminders of here that ame from behind and under things. He had been searching for scissors and come across the button that she never got to sew on her coat, he'd found a half used lipstick two weeks ago while cleaning out his closet. It was though she had planted things to stay hidden and come upon him out of the void. He knew that was nonsense, but he would not put it past her, her putting things up like she'd been doing since they were first married, the house would never be cleaned of her. Breakfast was quiet. Against his own hope, the children began to reflect his own flowering grief. They too, moved quietly about like small islands in a barren sea. The clang of forks against plates, glasses being placed on the table, the rustling of newspaper pages being turned acted as the purveyors of life in the house. It was his own doing, when Melanie first became ill, he found it necessary to institute order as she began her days later and later. His drive for efficiency based upon alarms and specifications of who was where and doing what now allowed them to move through most of their days with little of no recognition of each other. Before she'd taken ill, breakfast was a mess of noises, looking for misplaced homework, beds not made, anger over too much time in the bathroom for one and not enough for the other. Melanie's cooking was always a matter of how much noise she could make, spoons hitting pots, forks clicking against knives and bowls, pots clanging into each other as she moved them around looking for the right pot, that was inevitably filled and in the refrigerator for the last three nights. With the kids off to school, the plants watered, the pets fed as much as they would eat that morning, George began his day. On the drive to the train station, he listened at the morning news. He hardly paid any attention to to what the top stories were, even though they had been repeated three times during the fifteen minute drive. On the train he dutifully read the morning paper, watching the words go by his eyes, his brain recording through habit. No ideas, no comments, just the scenery of words on the newspaper pages as the train took him downtown. He settled into his office as he always did, glancing at his phone just enough to see the message light lit. Meesages were nothing more than an interrution of process, little rabbits that had to be chased down, catagorized and coralled onto his "to do" list. The little light would not gnaw him for long, he dialed the stream of numbers, access IDs, passwords and promts necessary to put the light out. With the phone to his head, her voice snapped him out of his normal processes. She was in town and wanted to meet for lunch, could he call her. He pulled the pen out of his shirt pocket, scrambling to write the number down. He glanced at his calandar and figured that he could clear therest of the day without causing too much of a problem for the rest of the week. He listened to the message again, the sound of her voice brought with it a flood of memories, most notably the circumstances of their parting. She was leaving and he wanted so much to go with her, to leave his crumbling marriage before there was nothing left. Life would make the decision, that he had been putting off for the longest, it came in a telephone call from the hospital. Melanie had cancer, and he could not fathom leaving her now. Melanie, whom he had relegated to a corner of his ordered world became its painfilled center. She was terribly noble and he could offer her nothing less in reward. She done as much as she could so that she would not be an imposition, a trooper if there ever was one. In return he devoted himself entirely to her, something he had not accomplished before cancer began to ravish her body. He settled into his chair, with her voice still lingering in memories at the edge of his mind. In a moment he transfomed from grieving widow, a role he played to perfection over the last year, to nervous schoolboy, wondering to himself how soon he should call her back. A rush of stolen moments flooded his mind, the lunches, dinners, hotel rooms. He wondered if he should call her immediately or to try and delay for as long as he could the sound of her unrecorded voice over the phone. He reached for the phone and called the hotel where she was staying, there was no sense in putting off the inevitable, or at least what seemed inevitable. Waiting for the desk to ring her room he was tempted to hang up and call back later, but he steadied the phone in his hand, to his eager ear. "Hello", she said with sleepiness in her voice, so warm he could almost feel the moisture of her breath in his ear. -Hey. How're you doing? Hope I did not wake you. -No, not it is well past the time for me to get up, I was just laying here wasting time. I have a meeting at about two that I should be preparing for. -So would you like to get together today, maybe after your presentation? Do you know what time you will be through?, he asked not really knowing how he wanted her to tell him. It would have all been so easy had she just never come back into his life. She never had to say a word to him, dredging up emotions that should have been long dead now were surfaced and bare. -Can you make it for lunch? Here at the hotel? She added. The whole scenario unfolded in his miund, that he would meet her in her room, she would be barely dressed if dressed at all. They wouldnot even order food. -Why don't we meet at the Marquette for lunch. My day is kinda tight and I did not drive downtown today. He realized how lame that sounded as soon as it left his lips. He could easily have caught a taxi at noon downtown so transportation would not have been a problem. -Sure that will be fine.