It was a cold morning in March when she heard he was dead. The snow was falling thick from the sky, blanketing her dry brown lawn in a deep layer of wet snow. At first she didn't know how to react. It had been so long since she had seen him she wasn't even sure if she could claim she knew him anymore. Despite this uncertainty she still felt unbearably sad.
They had been lovers, once upon a time. It was before he had his breakdown. He had been cultivating orchids then, beautiful hybrids and rare tropical varieties. The work he had done raising orchids in non-tropical environments had been highly regarded by horticulturists the world over. The first hybrid he had created bore her name, Olivia's Orchid. He said it was fitting that his finest creation should have her name; after all she was his greatest triumph.
All that had changed when he had his breakdown. She didn't want to leave him. He filled her dreams and was the only one she wanted to love. It was his idea to part ways. It happened one evening as they were sitting on the floor in front of his sofa, enjoying the manufactured warmth of his house, kept humid for the orchids, despite the cold outside. They were having a picnic, despite the negative wind chill outside. She was sipping her wine thoughtfully as she lay in his arms.
It was a few days after his first breakdown. He hadn't left his house in over a week. She really wouldn't have been able to tell from his behavior that night if she didn't already know. It was nice to just lie in his arms, his hands stroking her hair gently, as if nothing was wrong.
But just like that it was over. He explained that it would be better for her if she didn't see him anymore. The doctors told him that he was unstable and possibly a danger to himself and others. He kissed her passionately then, a single tear rolling down his cheek. As she left he reminded her of the notebook.
Her entire life was written in that dark blue composition notebook he kept in his bedside table. What had begun as an idea for a strange hobby had brought them closer. They had become lovers the night she told him about her first love, an unrequited crush in middle school. The thought that the already worn life history would remain with him when she was gone was the only reason she was able to leave. The last she saw of him was standing in his doorway, afraid to step outside, holding her life in his hands.
Now, as the news of his death sunk in, she realized that he was truly gone. Before his death there was a possibility of reconciliation. As she stood with the phone to her ear, tears beginning to roll down her face, the last thing she heard was, "He still had your notebook." The thought that he still thought of her, after all this time, warmed her heart as her tears and the cold snow fell.