Sometimes getting lost is the only way to find what you're looking for.
Lenny left his wife Monique a healthy legacy and a bucket list—a list of adventures they’d hoped to experience before cancer took his life. For four years his widow ignored it, too busy raising their daughter to consider the painful task of resurrecting shattered dreams. But when Monique notices her earth-mother neighbor Judy acting crazy in her empty nest, and their best friend, Becky, traumatized by chilling news, Monique dusts off that wish list and contemplates it with new eyes. Lenny never meant for her to do this alone—and this crazy list of adventures just might save them all....
Four years, two weeks, and three days. To Monique, grief was a familiar guest, arriving without warning.
She sat on the edge of her bed. She knew she shouldn’t be here, alone in her house, engulfed by shadows. She should be outside enjoying the waning light of the evening with Judy and Becky and the whole neighborhood. Through the screen window, she smelled the mesquite-smoke scent of barbecue. She heard the rippling of her friends’ laughter as they gathered on the deck next door. It was the last Sunday of the summer. Everyone was home from the beach, the lake, and the mountains. Swarms of kids squealed as they jumped on the trampoline. In the driveway, an empty garbage can rumbled to the ground as if someone had stumbled against it.
Earlier Monique had made an appearance at the gathering, like she always did. She’d brought over a nice batch of doubles,
her grandmother’s Caribbean-island version of spicy hummus sandwiches. It was a crowd favorite. She’d shown up because Lenny would have wanted her to. Lenny had always loved these casual get-togethers, sitting back with a beer and laughing with Judy’s husband, Bob, over some golf game. He’d tease Becky’s husband, Marco, for doting so much on his own young kids, even as Lenny leaned forward to allow those same giggling children to peel open the winged seeds of maple trees and stick them on his nose.
Four years, two weeks, and three days. Everyone expected her to move on, whatever the hell that meant. Yet here she was, sitting in the gloom with Lenny’s bucket list on her lap. Fingering the crackling edges of the paper in the hope that, if she stared long and hard enough at it, then Lenny would come.
He did not disappoint.
She drew in a long, deep breath, smelling the faintest whiff of Brut. She let her eyes flutter closed. She detected a rustle in the room, like the sound of curtains blown by a tender breeze. She imagined she felt a pool of warmth, just behind and to the right of her, where the mattress canted a bit, sagging under an unseen weight. She heard Lenny’s rumbling baritone in her mind.