Robert would be 81 tomorrow. Perhaps it’s only coincidence but I have just now come to the end of the things that we planned together, fleshed out after his death by the answers to my “what now?” questions. The Vendee house we were going to buy together was going to be a second home. When I decided it would be my primary residence, I decided it would be one Robert, too, would be happy to call home. That meant it would need room for lots of books and it would need a hot tub, what people generally, these days, call a spa. He read voraciously and ended every day with a long soak.
In the last month the house has been buttoned up. The contractors will return but rarely and for nothing that would make it impossible to live here. A permanent spa will have to wait for the garden overhaul but I found one of those inflatable ones on Amazon. It fits nicely on the terrace. After only a few days the heater went out, so not such a hot tub after all, but it’s in. And here, two months early, is the new bookshelf. It’s not in its intended location but it is in. If I had been buying for this location I’d have bought one more section — Flamant makes them in a variety of sizes — but I’m fine with this and like that it does not overpower the room. Though I show it empty, it is now nearly full. That bottom shelf is filled, end to end, by Robert’s art books. I’m saving up for another one of these and will surely fill that one, too. When the overflow from the Paris bookshelves arrives, it will be packed out. That space to the right awaits its comfy reading chair and accompanying lamp.
So. The final milestone, the last of the things we had absolutely planned to do together, has been reached. The transition is complete. It’s going to take me a while to get used to that.