Near the edge of the water, a seashell glistened with promise. Ruby moved towards it with tremendous power and her hand slipped out of mine. She laughed, and her wavy brown hair rippled in the wind. Suddenly, the tide came up and with a tug, Ruby slipped away. I ran towards her, my mind clouded from emotion. “Mommy!” she cried out, her fist trembling as the remains of her slipped away from me forever.

I woke up in a sweat at the edge of my bed. Another nightmare. I sighed and looked at the alarm clock on my night stand. “2:14”, it read. And—rather suddenly—it hit me. Ruby would have been ten today. I slumped over to the other side of the bed; my head dizzy with shock. I really did screw things up, didn’t I? I looked over to the balcony where Arnold and I would watch the sunset together. We were the perfect couple; the perfect family before I ruined it all.

I still keep their toothbrushes at the sink. Isn’t that crazy? Ruby’s pink hippopotamus toothbrush sat in the middle of the holder, just like she was in the middle of the family. I picked mine up, and squeezed a little bit of mint toothpaste on the end.  Brushing the tears off my cheek, I gave one last sniffle.

‘Today we are going to commemorate Ruby’s life, not fall apart,’ I thought.

I decided that I would treat myself to some blueberry pancakes, the ones Ruby would beg for me to make her. A little whipped cream, some maple syrup and I was set. Ruby had been gone for two years, but I still couldn’t get over her laugh, her smile, the way that she would squeeze my hand when she got nervous.

You know, when you wake up sometimes, just for a blissful second, you forget. But when those memories come flooding back in, you can’t help but open the gates.

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