My eyes shoot open, and the pale, glowing hue that spills through each window of our bedroom tells me it’s snowing. It’s a lovely contrast to the usual morning sun; with its dagger-like rays that don’t spill, but pierce through the windows and curtains. I sit up in bed and gaze outside, at the delicate flakes fluttering through the air in each and every direction.
“Darling, you called?” I yell out, leaving the bedroom and venturing into the hall. It’s forever been a habit of hers, to go off and not respond when called. I’ve never really minded. Trouble only came after the diagnosis, because then, it was impossible to think like I used t0. If I’ve taken anything for granted in this lifetime, it’s the way things were before her silence meant instant panic. In this very moment, though a part of me knows she’s rooted in place before a window, admiring her favorite type of weather, there’s too much risk in leaving her be.
A step into the kitchen and a gaze into her enchanting, brown eyes remove a weight from my chest I hadn’t even known was there. The irises are a dark, chestnut color, almost black. Even all these years later, I get lost in them; in the way they twinkle under any light, and then how they glimmer with an almost supernaturally beautiful way, appearing as though they could be entire separate universes. It’s one of the few, valuable things her illness couldn’t take.
Rummaging through the cabinet for coffee, I ask, “How are you feeling? Weren’t you staying overnight? With the nurses, I mean. If you got in bed with me, I didn’t hear you.” She doesn’t say anything, and I laugh. “Did they let you out for good behavior?”
The regret in her voice, though suppressed, is unmistakable. She sighs and gazes absentmindedly at the kitchen countertop, or maybe at the pale blue mug I just pulled out of the sink. “I actually feel great for once. I’ve really gotta get back, though. I shouldn’t have left, but I just missed you. I love you, by the way.”
I bite back a grin. Though it’s been said millions of times by now, it always resonates with me as a brand new phrase. It’s insane how this woman loves me, and chose me over the other seven billion people on earth. I’ll never get over it. “And I love you. Be safe getting back, I’ll head over after I have breakfast.” In the one minute I spend brewing my coffee, she goes out the door so quickly and silently, I’m startled to turn and find myself in an empty kitchen.
Almost like clockwork, my phone becomes a frenzy of buzzes and rings in my pocket. Already unnerved, I get no comfort from a nurse’s contact picture lit up on the screen. “Hey,” I answer, beginning to pace circles around the kitchen. “She’s on her way back now, but I’m sorry. Her leaving was all my idea. I just missed her.”
She doesn’t respond for a moment. “Sweetheart, are you alright? Did someone already tell you?” I guess my silence speaks for itself. “We lost her very early this morning. I’m so sorry. If it means anything to you, I held her hand as she passed. At least we can find comfort in how she’s not in pain anymore.”
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