Chapter 4

It is a few days after the fortune cookie incident that I finally gather up enough courage to face work again. My manager has been extremely supportive for the time I have lost, they have not laid me off and neither have they replaced me, allowing me to work from home a few hours every day. Even so, I decide it is time to go back to work. Sitting around brooding at home day after day is not going to change the facts. It is not going to bring back Eva and staying home with all her things is only going to torture me more. So I take up the welcome distraction of joining work again, throwing myself into it with an insane determination so much so that I leave home early morning, get back late and so tired I pass out the minute I go to bed. The exhaustion and work keeps my mind off my loss. Not entirely. But it helps.

Of course, nothing can really mask the pain that still aches inside. Knowing I have no Eva waiting back at home for me is an ordeal I go through every single day. Realizing that I would never again hear her laughter or see her smile, or the way she would screw up her nose when I made a stupid joke. I live through all of that every day.

Weekends perhaps, are always the hardest. Jenna often calls, and mom wants me to join them for dinner but I refuse repeatedly. Saturday nights I wander alone in the house, the house which seems to have lost all comfort with Eva and often find myself in her part of the study. All of her pretty little poems and snippets of literature. I would trace a hand over the dust that would collect over her things due to lack of use, no matter how meticulously I cleaned every few days. It is like the dust knows, how to consume, the things of people who no longer live. Some days I wish that the same dust would bury me in a pile so I won’t have to live through this ache anymore.

It is another full moon night, the second month after Eva, when I sit on the patio. I can’t bear the thought of a walk, one Eva and I had indulged in like a ritual while she was still here, the full moon night walks, she would call them and I would roll my eyes. Not today. So all I do is sit in her chair on the deck and look at the moon. I find myself thinking more and more about the fortune cookie the other day. Thinking and curious until at length, like on autopilot I go ahead and order Chinese food again.

It is delivered in the same packages as before and I don’t bother with the niceties. It was Eva who always wanted to try new things, I usually just ordered chowmein and I do the same then. I can’t eat much anyway; I am much more eager about the cookie. I want to see what it holds this time. Was the first one just a coincidence, or was it a message from Eva? I crack open the fortune cookie and there it is

'You already know the answer to the question lingering inside your head'

My heart skips a beat as I read and re-read the words on the slightly glossy slip of paper. Here she is again. Eva, with her poetic mind and glorious words, painting for me a vivid picture, sending me an instruction of sorts. I manage a small smile and pocket my fortune. It seems like I do have a guardian angel after all.

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