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I Am Everlasting
“Moore,” she called from the bedroom as she fumbled with the clasp of her fragile gold chain. “May you help me with this?”
“Of course.” I trotted into our room and fastened the necklace around her neck with ease. I stared into her deep emerald eyes. They were churning with thrill as I brushed a stray hair behind her ear.
“Do you think Diana will be okay?” she asked, a flicker of nervousness now entering her eyes.
I cocked my head in confusion. “Of course she will. Why do you ask?”
All traces of excitement dissipated quickly- too quickly- from her eyes with the arrival of anxiety. She glanced down at her ivory shoes and shrugged. “It’s hard… she doesn’t know and… and she’s getting married! It was a horrible decision to not tell her. I just don’t… I don’t want to break her heart.”
I lifted her delicate chin with my index finger. “Sweetheart, either way it’s going to be tough. When she gets back from her honeymoon, we’ll tell her. ‘Kay?”
A tear drifted down her cheek and I dabbed it away. She turned away from me, embarrassed, worried, frustrated. “What if…?” she started, her voice quivering with anguish. “What if I don’t…?”
Outrage shoved into my chest, but it evaporated into agony. I gripped her shoulders with my hands. “Don’t you ever think that way!” I scolded, my tone harsh as I faced her towards me.
“Thinking positive isn’t going to do anything, Moore!” she spat. “It’s just giving false hope! I don’t want to do that to you or Diana or me!”
I opened my mouth to retaliate, but nothing came out but little spurts of words. “Li… look, you… Dian… I…” I sighed, searching for something to say. Finally, I arrived at a response. “I wish I could take all of this pain away, I would if I could, but I can’t. I’m sorry.” I glimpsed up to my wife to see tears ripping down her face.
I pulled her in closer and held her tight. “It’ll be okay, I promise.” I gazed at my watch and realized what kind of time we spent discussing this… tragedy. “We have to leave soon. I don’t think Diana would be too happy if we are late to her wedding.”
A faint smile appeared at the corners of her mouth; it wasn’t a happy or amused smile, but rather a one of reassurance. She daubed lightly at her eyes, not wanting to smear her makeup. “Let’s go.”
I led her to our Toyota, my arm wrapped around her waist. She climbed into the passenger’s seat as I got behind the wheel and started the ignition. The whole ride she stared blankly out the window, her countenance devoid of any and all expression. Her eyes traced the billowing clouds that floated in the sky and her hand rubbed her other arm. She would never be the fun-loving woman I married; she would never again dance around the house in that lively passion of hers, never be the extrovert at birthday parties, never have wild excitement well in her eyes like they did so long ago, in that ever so distant past.
The wedding was absolutely breathtaking. Diana was draped in a traditional gown and a translucent veil that hid her gorgeous face. When the groom, Wayne, lifted the veil, all of her assets shone and her smile lit up the entire church. She was just like her mother; the nose, the long, curly blonde locks, the beautiful grin, and especially her eyes. Those emerald, churning eyes with the endless depths.
Diana and Wayne were going to Hawaii for their honeymoon. They wouldn’t be back for three weeks. Now I just had to convince my wife that it was a good choice to wait until after their vacation to tell her.
Within the next week, she wasn’t well. She felt feeble, old, not like the forty-eight-year-old she was. Her face was drooping and her skin was dreary, like the sky on a hazy day. It was a shocking deterioration.
One morning, when I brought her breakfast, she inquired, “Do I look sick?”
I sighed. I wasn’t about to lie to her, but I wanted to tell her what she wanted to hear. I smiled weakly, trying to make light of the situation while still stating the truth. “Yeah.”
She closed her eyes and frowned. “How long?”
I swallowed, pondering whether I should fib or not. I chose the truth, “The doctors said four weeks at the most.”
Her eyes opened again, gray rather than green. She looked into mine, her expression somber. “Moore, will you do me a favor?”
“Anything.” I nodded.
“Will you take those gold earrings in my jewelry box and take them to the jeweler? I want you to have them melt them into two rings-one for you and one for Diana.” She grabbed a pen and notepad from the nightstand and scrawled something on the paper. She ripped it out of the binding and folded it in half. She reached for my arm and closed my hand into a fist around the note. “And I want you to have this engraved on them. Please don’t look.” She grinned at me, her smile small and feeble.
I smiled back, murmuring, “Okay, I promise.”
She motioned for me to get going, and I kissed her softly on the forehead before leaving.
The jewelry box was a tiny mahogany case with delicate carvings snaked around the top. The inside was carpeted in soft ruby velvet that cradled each precious piece of jewelry as if it were a newborn child. I gathered up the earrings, counting them as I shoveled them into my palm; there were fourteen. I headed downstairs and snatched a plastic bag for the earrings before leaving the house. I still clutched the piece of paper, loyal to my vow I made to my dying wife.
I dropped the earrings off at Marcus’s Jewelers and gave them her orders. They would be finished in eight days; I was sure she would be glad to hear that.
When I arrived home, I immediately bounded up the stairs to check up on her. Her eyes shot open when I entered. She gestured for me to go to her.
“I will be able to pick up the rings in about a week.”
She nodded. “Good.” She grasped onto my arm and buried her head in my elbow. We stayed like that for a long while as she drifted into a peaceful sleep, her chest rising and falling with her breath. Then it slowed, and she eventually slipped away, out of my grasp, out of this world, out of my life.
“Diana?” I whispered into the receiver. This was the final call I had to make; I phoned the doctors, the rest of the family, and now our daughter.
“Hey, Dad!” she replied, her voice cheery, like her mother’s was. “What’s up?”
I ignored the question, trying to get in some happy chatting before… “How is Hawaii?”
“Oh, just beautiful!” she gushed. “The hotel is amazing, it’s so well decorated, and the ocean is clearer than anything I’ve imagined! The weather is phenomenal, and it’s just so wonderful!” She giggled, obviously content with the choice of honeymoon setting. “So, how are things with you and Mom?”
I gulped quietly. This is it. “Diana…”
“Dad, what’s…?” Nervousness played with her tone now, a complete turnaround from the excitement that colored it before.
“Your mother… your mother is gone.”
I explained everything to Diana in that one conversation: the sickness, the… passing, and the rings. I felt horrible for ruining her honeymoon, but she had to know.
When my daughter and Wayne came home, I retrieve the rings from Marcus’s and presented one to Diana. I slipped mine onto my finger- it fit nicely, snugly, and I recalled the carving my wife asked for.
I took off the rings and looked at the engraving that curled on the inside:
I AM EVERLASTING
It stated the truth; she wasn’t out of my life, she was always there, always represented by her fourteen gold earrings.