“Where did we live when we first got married? And what was that glorious long beach we loved on our honeymoon? There is a reason for Julia’s name. I wish I could remember, Dino.”

Silvia looked at Dino’s armchair and felt comfort in addressing him as if he still existed somewhere, that maybe he heard and cared as of old.

The children didn’t understand. She hated the look of sorrow and annoyance in their eyes.

“Nonna,, I’m Martha, mummy’s name is Elise.”

Her confusion frightened her and there seemed there was an ever widening gulf in her recollections.

Her rock. Gone. If Dino was with her she was certain she’d be grounded once again. Over 50 years they shared their lives. Death was a cruel separation. If only she could see him again. His caress. “Mia bella bionda”. He called her that long after she had turned grey.

Now she felt cherished by no one. An increasing burden in her children’s busy lives. She knew her children suspected, but she fooled the doctor. So far. She was prescribed Valium for anxiety.

She held the pill jar, her mind burning with desire: eliminate this pain, this longing, this burden.

“Oh, Dino, I want to see you again.”

The phone rang and rang, Silvia determined not to answer. It rang out. Then rang again.

Silvia went to take the phone off the hook but it started ringing again. Silvia became concerned something was wrong with one of her children.

“Mamma. You probably think I’m stupid but I got this strong sense papa wanted me to call you.”

“Did he?” And suddenly Silvia felt his warm embrace. “Mia cara,” he whispered close to her ear.

“Mamma, are you ok?”

Silvia knew the choice was hers. But now she recognised a choice. She too may be a painful ghost from the past. Never a chance to provide help, say sorry, or goodbye. Maybe sharing and trusting would be ok. Maybe she could do this.

Written in response to Daily Word Prompt 20 “memory” by Henrietta Watson.