|Posted on December 10, 2016 at 4:00 AM|
With a slightly shaken pull of her wrist Diana unlocked the door to her hotel room, and willed herself inside before closing the door behind her. Immediately, she felt an unwelcomed sense of unrest interrupting her train of thought. She chose to travel to the very spot where Tom had faced his death alone. The experience released a flood of emotion churning deep within that still kept Diana from relaxing. She visited the crash site a couple hours ago. Though, she was relieved that the remainder of her emotional outburst had lost much its intensity thanks to the positive socializing with Tom's colleagues at the tavern. Knowing there was also still a mild amount of alcohol in her system, Diana figured she would not be able to sleep right away and resigned to stay awake. So, she slumped down into her hotel room chair and mentally thumbed through ideas of what to do to bide the time.
Moments later Diana sat upright when a flurry of curiosity struck her mind. On the half mile walk back from the tavern, she noticed a quaint rustic gazebo at the edge of the hotel's parking lot. Even in the pitch darkness, it seemed to be for hotel guests to congregate since it was not very far from the front office. So, Diana boldly stood up but her gaze fell upon Tom’s favorite worn leather jacket still lying across the seatback of the second hotel room chair. Suddenly she remembered placing it there the previous night when she first arrived. Diana curiously wondered why she had forgotten to wear it. Though now emboldened, she grabbed the jacket, put it on, and left the hotel room. This time she decided to make each step purposeful. With every footfall on the damp gravel and dirt beneath her shoes, Diana took her time and hoped to finally unravel the compressed emotions still lingering within.
When she reached the gazebo, unexpectedly Diana hesitated and stopped in her tracks. Uncertain for this involuntary moment of pause, she felt her restlessness assert itself again. To keep the anxiety from flaring up, she began to walk slowly around the gazebo's interior to calm her nerves. Gradually Diana started to feel something else; something somewhat vague yet familiar. Instinctively, she clutched Tom's jacket around herself as if to mimic his embrace. When she did this, soothing warmth flowed softly across her upper back and through the tension wound tightly within her shoulders. Diana found herself losing track of any physical movements and paces about. There had not been enough alcohol in her system to induce this euphoric of a sensation of levity. Yet, there was no mistaking the sense of calm and comfort that she was now experiencing.
In her heart, Diana knew it had to be the spirit of her fiancé, Tom. Perhaps she had not been receptive enough at the accident site earlier, for her raging emotions could have been enough to scare away the fiercest grizzly bear. All at once the pains throughout her body and mind seemed to drift away, leaving her feeling comforted enough to finally relax. When she came to, Diana's arms were outstretched before her as if she had ambiguously danced with someone. She suppressed a most charming giggle to herself and leaned on one of the wooden gazebo posts to memorize the mystical experience in her heart. Then, Diana made her way slowly back to her hotel room. While she walked, the warmth from her guardian angel remained with her comfortingly. Setting an alarm for an hour before sunrise, at least initially Diana managed to fall sound asleep after a most emotionally exhausting day.
Next thing she knew, Diana had startled partially awake from her rather fitful tossing and turning. The alarm clock had already begun its best rooster impression in spite of her desire to lob it across the room. Once it was silenced, Diana rolled onto her back and tried to gather herself; grasping for the energy to keep from slipping back into weary sleeplessness. Today was the day to bid her final farewell to Tom. It was an important personal duty she did not intend to retreat from not even in the slightest. As she got dressed and readied to leave the hotel, Diana nearly forgot to square the charge for her room. She took a few moments to arrange her best expression of composure then walked over to the hotel lobby. However, what she found was a most heartwarming surprise.
Diana strode up to the front desk, was half way from pulling the credit card out of her wallet when the clerk politely said it would not be necessary. Seeing her puzzled expression, the clerk then admitted what she meant with no less than a modest grin of admiration. Reading from a note, the clerk recited that as a parting gift for the courage to venture here all the way from her home state to face her grief, a young man named Everett had paid her bill. He slipped in about an hour before to pay the full cost of her stay there. Diana could feel an instinctive smile blossom across her face from the gratitude. Thanking the clerk she then walked back to her room, and packed up the rest of her stuff into her car. She drove off towards the scenic overlook where Everett had suggested she check out before leaving town. Despite the dark unfamiliarity of the area, Diana was guided by her passion through the night.
With the hotel well out of sight from her rear view mirror, Diana focused her senses to find the remote overlook spot that Tom apparently frequented several times before the tragic accident. She knew being anywhere near the crash site would still be too emotional for her tender heart, but she longed to say goodbye to him in her own peaceful way somehow. A way that she had hoped no one would be around her to spoil; a hint of selfish time alone was nothing she felt ashamed of. Diana needed this in order to heal her wounds and move on. She had the good fortune of having met Everett, Zoë, Avis, and the other colleagues to thank for also helping her cope with the heart breaking loss. She made a mental note to return someday and thank them again for welcoming her so kindly, and for being there for her even as strangers when she needed the comfort.
In no time it seemed the scenic location was within reach thanks to Everett's directions. Diana deftly parked her car and set out in search of the overlook spot. After several minutes of following her senses to roam through the rugged terrain, she found a smooth-surfaced rock outcropping that seemed ideal for the best view of the sunrise. It strangely felt as if Tom would have found it preferable as well with a beautiful array of mountain peaks off in the distance. Perhaps his spirit was right there with her, and had guided her by the love they once shared. First clearing her mind and finding a comfortable seat upon the rocky surface, Diana sat down and prepared herself. For the emotion riddled thrust back upon everything that had led up to this moment was very personal, and also required great care to navigate. Slowly, she closed her eyes as the first few rays of warmth washed over her.