I know I’m dying. I’m losing myself little by little but no one can tell, the pretty smile on my lips buries the pain well within.
We are sitting side by side on the sofa, holding hands and reminiscing about the past. I look at him now, and the gaunt, bald headed figure staring back at me is a far cry from the vibrant young man I fell for on that warm July morning. He looks away like he could tell what I was thinking. He doesn’t want me seeing him this way. I know he needs to rest but I’m not ready to quit talking to him yet, so keep talking, we did.
We tell stories of how he shyly wrote me love letters to get my attention, how I pretended not to notice him, how he started getting interested in Sade to make me jealous and how I pretended not to notice that too and how a shared love for opera finally saw us going on our first real date, a date that birthed a love so pure, friends swore it was something made for fairy tales. Finally, I give in to common sense, I lay him down, cover him with the quilt, kiss his parched lips and walk to the other side of the room.
I stand there watching the rhythmic rise and fall of his chest, I remember the words that had hit me like a sledgehammer barely 6 months ago,
“Deola, I have cancer.” He’d said to me in the dimly lit room.
The news had drowned out the sonorous voice of Jackie Evancho performing Pavarotti’s symphony.
“I would understand if you walked away now, the road ahead would be tortuous and I don’t want to put you through that.” He’d continued.
This is not supposed to be happening to us. Leave? how could I, what kind of person would that make me?
So, I’d stayed. Through the endless rounds of chemotherapy, the unbearable pain, the extreme weakness, the constant vomiting, the alopecia. I held his hands through it all. Everyone praised my strength but he was the only one who sensed I was also dying, the only one who knew that if I could take his place, I would do that in a heartbeat.
As I stand there watching him, I remember the daredevil he had been, the one person who’d convinced me to jump out of a perfectly good plane all in the name of skydiving. I’d loved the rush and I’d loved him more for making me live everyday like it was my last. This thought brings tears to my eyes, the urge to cry is so strong that I double over, I clamp my hands over my mouth to keep from crying out loud but the sobs still escape. The light touch on my shoulder and the faint voice telling me it would be okay made me realize I wasn’t alone anymore. I hold on tightly to him but we both know our forever is but a disappearing mist.
PS: As a writer, we get to try new things all the time…. This is my attempt at flash fiction. Like you already know, I love hearing from you guys, so, let me know what you think…