And just like that, I am there for someone. I am not the one in pain. I am not suffering. I am helping. My life without Ben felt like it was nothing, but here I am, doing something with it.

Mr. Callahan nods his head reluctantly and puts on his shoes.

“Think they’ll card me?” he says.We both laugh, even though it wasn’t that funny. We have to find little ways to smile. no matter how strong you are, no matter how smart you are or tough you can be, the world will find a way to break you. and when it does, the only thing you can do is hold on.

When Mr. Callahan and I get to the bar, he goes straight for the bartender. I hang back for a minute before I meet him. I breathe in and out. I look at what’s around me. a guy comes up to me and asks what a gorgeous girl like me is doing here during a happy hour. He asks if he can buy me a drink.

I don’t say yes, but I also don’t punch him in the face. Mr. Callahan agrees with me that I’m making progress. plus, new year’s eve is just around the corner, and who knows what the year will bring.


We woke up in the hotel room in las vegas. the bed was wide; the sheets were luxurious. there was a Jacuzzi bathtub within four steps of the bed. the bright shining sun was already finding its way through the curtains, peeking around the edges and through the middle. My life had never felt so exciting, so full of possibilities.

Ben was still asleep when I woke up. I just watched him sleep. I put my head on his chest and listened to his heartbeat. I read the news on my cell phone. even the most ordinary things felt like Christmas morning to me. everything had this tint of peace to it. I turned on the tv and watched it at a low volume while Ben slept next to me. I waited for him to wake up.

When it got to be 11:00 a.m., I turned to him and lightly shook him awake.

“Wake up, baby,” I said. “We have to get up soon.”

Ben barely woke from his stupor. He put his arm around me and buried his face in his pillow.

“Come on, Husband,” I said to him. “you gotta get up.”

He opened his eyes and smiled at me. He lifted his mouth off the pillow and said, “What’s the rush, honey? We have all the time in the world.”