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Pretend

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In order to fall asleep

I have to imagine your body 

Crooked behind mine

Spoon ladled into spoon

Till i can hear your breath

I have to recite your name 

Till you answer and 

We have a conversation

Only then

Can my mind

Drift off to sleep

 

Boston 1948

 

It had been three months. Three months since the single worst day of my life. 

 

I knew that life without Jamie would be difficult. What I did not realize is how unbelievably unbearable it would be.

 

The simplest of tasks were now an excruciating experience. I don’t think that I had fully realized just exactly how ingrained Jamie was in every single aspect of my life. 

 

I longed for his secret smile when I burn the breakfast, the intimacy of getting ready for the day together, watching him teach Fergus new tasks with the horses, the simplicity of a conversation with my husband, the unwavering confidence in my abilities as a healer. I missed everything about Jamie. 

 

The one thing I miss the most are the evenings. 

 

I still could not bear to share a room with Frank. He was understanding of it and has never pushed me on the fact that I need to sleep in separate bedrooms. I could not be more thankful for it.

 

This was when I did not have to pretend. I spend all of my days pretending. Pretending to be happy, pretending to be in love with Frank, pretending not to be completely and utterly alone. 

 

Nights were when I could conjure Jamie. I needed to, in order to have any hope of falling asleep. 

 

Here, in the sanctuary of my own bed, I could pretend that none of it happened. Jamie and I were successful in our attempts to stop Culloden and we were tucked safely in our bed at Lallybroch. 

 

“Jamie.” I whisper. 

 

He's here, tucked right behind me, cradling the child that grows within my womb. 

 

At the thought of the baby, I let my tears slowly begin to fall. Jamie would be so happy. So, so happy. He had wanted this child from before they were even there. 

 

I wipe my tears and try desperately to get back to my daydream. 

 

Jamie would snuggle in behind me and rest his hands on my growing stomach. We would simply just be. 

 

Evenings were always one of my favorite parts of the day with him. Being able to hold him close to me and be held by him while we discussed our day, the future, our hopes, and anything else under the sun. 

 

I still talk to him at night. Tell him about all of the things that I think that he would enjoy from this time. I tell him about the deep struggles that I am facing everyday. How the child is the only thing that keeps me going. 

 

I love laying in bed and telling Jamie about the baby. It is one of the only times that I find myself truly excited about the pregnancy. 

 

I swear I can hear him answer me. I’m not sure if it is simply wishful thinking, the fact that I know him so well I know exactly what he would say, or if I am simply just going mad.

 

He would pull me closer to him, brush my hair behind my ear, making sure that I was looking him in the eye and tell me that I will be okay. He’d tell me that I am the strongest person he had ever known and if anyone can do this, it’s me.

 

His unwavering faith in me is another thing I fiercely missed. 

 

I roll over in bed and try to imagine that it is Jamie’s chest my head rests on rather than my pillow. He is so deeply embedded in my memory that I can almost smell him. 

 

Closing my eyes I begin to tell him about my day. 

 

“The baby kicked me something fierce today. I swear they are going to be just like you, very tall. Probably running out of bloody room in there already and I still have three months left.”

 

He’d chuckle at that. Beyond proud that our child would take after him in any way possible. 

 

I continue reciting my day to Jamie and fall into as peaceful of a sleep that I can muster. Just as I am drifting off I swear I hear it. 

 

“I love ye, mo nighean donn.”