“Hey, sweetheart,” he whispered. The bedroom was dark, the curtains were drawn, and no other sound echoed in the silence except for his hushed voice. He was laying on one side of their bed, the beautiful polished mahogany piece with the king sized mattress that they had picked out together as their wedding gift to each other. It was the bed that they had spent every night on since then, the bed where so many memories were anchored.
And now, he feared that it would be their last night together on it.
He could see the silhouette of her proud body lying there only inches away from him. Her chest moved up and down, marking her breathing. Long shadows flickered across her form from her favorite rose scented candle, which was burning on the nightstand beside her. He couldn’t tell if she was asleep or not, but it didn’t matter. He had something to say to her, and he knew that it was probably the last chance he would ever have to speak.
They’d been drifting apart slowly but surely, no matter how hard he tried to hold on to her. It made sense in a horrible way, when he thought about it. She was vibrant, a devoted spokesperson for the causes that she stood for and the best friend of everyone who met her. Such a person could never be with him, a common working man, who hadn’t even deserved to have the time that he did with her. They would burn out eventually, as she was too bright. Too bright for everything around her. Too bright to be contained.
She hadn’t even spoken to him for the past three days. He was beginning to wonder if she could hear him at all anymore when he talked. But he had to speak, for the sake of everything that they’d been through.
“I was thinking about the day we got married,” he said into the darkness, his voice reverberating back at him off the walls of their bedroom. “You were so beautiful. Almost as beautiful as you are now. I remember that your dress was pure white, not the ivory color that your mother preferred. You told me you’d always dreamed of getting married in a real white dress. You looked like a sunbeam in human form.”
She shifted her head slightly. Was it just his hopefulness or was she glancing his way? His heart beat faster in his chest. She was listening to him.
“Listen, I know that we’ve had our ups and downs. I know that we’ve had to struggle with money more than I would like, and that I couldn’t always get you everything that you wanted or needed.” His voice cracked suddenly and he struggled to keep his composure. He had prepared himself for this talk for so long; he couldn’t afford to lose himself now. “But through it all, having you with me always gave me the strength to keep fighting on. I love you. I have loved you for as long as I have been given the honor to know you.”
Her breath whispered out between her lips, an almost silent affirmation that she was still listening. His hand rustled through the sheets, reaching out until her found her fingertips.
“There’s one more thing that I need to say,” he added. “I know you’re leaving. I know that you can’t stay with me. For the past few months, I’ve been trying to come to grips with it. I always thought that there would be something I could do to make you stay, but I guess I have to accept what I can’t control. We both know that you belong to bigger and better places.”
He felt a tear roll out of his eye, and he let it fall. Sitting up, he put his left arm around his wife, so that he was looking down at her. Through the lace curtains on the window a shaft of moonlight was illuminating her, mingling with the warm yellow light of the candle. He smiled at the face that he had loved since his youth: the gentle pink lips, the high cheekbones, the tanned skin and long dark hair. A shallow breath slipped in through her mouth; her eyes darted for an instant beneath the closed lids. She was the most beautiful woman in the world.
Even the cancer couldn’t stop that.
When she’d been diagnosed only a year ago, he’d been determined that she would be cured. But time had only brought more pain, until now he was at the point he had been hoping he’d never have to see: the time to say goodbye.
He watched her take another breath. Each one seemed more and more ragged, as if she were breathing out bits of her soul with each attempt. They had gone to see every doctor and tried every option. Now it was down to this one night, the last they would ever spend together.
“You’re too bright of a flame to flicker here in this dull world,” he said, caressing her hair gently. “So go on. Don’t worry about staying here for me; I’ll catch up with you when I can. Burn bright where you belong: beyond pain, beyond limitations, where death can no longer touch you. I won’t forget you. I’ll never stop loving you.”
As the hours ticked on, her breathing became more and more gentle. By the time the pink edges of the sky had given way to clear morning sun, she was silent. He looked down at her for a long, quiet moment when he realized that the color had left her face, and the hand he was holding had turned stiff and cold.
“I love you, my sunbeam.”
He leaned over towards the candle by her bedside and gently blew it out.
By Renee K.
'Fire of the Spirit' Teen blog is run by Henry B. To find more information about this blog, go here