At my weekly counselling session last Thursday, Glenda said something about Dale that's been bothering me since then. We were talking about the guilt I have as a mother, for staying with an alcoholic. Because I couldn't leave, I changed the course of mine and Jamie's life forever - and in some ways, that was a good thing. In other ways, it was horrific. Anyway, she had said something like, "You shouldn't blame yourself so much because after all, when you met him he was still young and a nice guy. You didn't know he'd turn out to be not such a nice guy."
I'm sure she didn't realize how that would set off more guilt, because one of the reasons Dale chose to die was because he felt he deserved it. He quit drinking eight months before he died but kept beating himself up, I kept saying that I would keep his memory alive and I would celebrate the person that he was before he lost the battle with booze. I hate that other people only know the bad things.
Anyway, one of the nice things I truly miss about him is that he had a thing for giving me pedicures.
It wasn't a fetish as far as I know, but he thought I had beautiful feet. He loved the way they got so brown in the summer time, he loved the way they arched along the bottom, and loved painting my toes.
We'd be reading on the couch, with him sitting on one end and me laying down with my feet across his lap. Every now and then he'd notice that the polish was fading or coming off and fix it.
A few months before he actually died, we were on the couch in the same way but when his hand closed over the top of my foot he started crying. Through tears of my own I asked him what was wrong and he said who's going to take care of these? You have such pretty feet...
In the six and a half years since he died, I thought of this story every single time I painted my nails, with the exception of the time I asked Bill to do it last fall. We sat on the bed in the bedroom for over forty-five minutes because we kept laughing so hard that I couldn't stay still. Thank god the colour was light pink.
I kept that polish on for months, until it eventually faded away.