My Heart Is Yours

December 28, 2010
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“Promise me,” I whispered. I was curled up next to his side, trying to stay close to him. I could lose him any minute. The thought made me crawl even closer to him, if that was possible. We were sitting on the top of his car, staring at the beauty of the night sky.

“Promise you what?” he asked when I didn’t finish my thought. He wrapped his arm around my shoulders, and kissed the top of my head. This simple movement had become so familiar during the past year.

“Promise me that you’ll stay with me forever. Promise me that we’ll get married; watch our kids run around the house in the morning; grow old together.” A few tears were falling from my eyes. What if this fairy tale never happened?

“I promise,” he said. He kissed me then. He wiped away the tears that fell from my face, and then whispered that he loves me.

We sat there all night, just watching the stars. Sometime later, I fell asleep in his comforting embrace. I’d never been so happy in my life. There was no place I’d rather be, and nobody that I’d rather be there with. This was my life, and I loved it.






***

The next day, in the middle of the afternoon, his mother called me. I could hear the roughness in her voice; she had been crying. She told me that she woke up this morning and found Caleb on the couch. And he wouldn’t wake up.

She told me the doctor’s diagnosis; he didn’t have much longer. She told me that he was awake and asking for me. As she spoke, I was walking out the door with my keys in hand, ready to drive to the hospital. I told her I would be there soon, and then I hung up.

It took me five minutes to get to the hospital. His mom had told me where to go to get to them, and I ran. I found his family outside of his door, crying in each other’s arms. His mom pointed to the door, and whispered, “He’s been asking for you.”

I hesitated before opening the door. I was afraid of what I was about to see. When I finally opened the door, the first thing that went through my mind was that there was a steady beeping from the heart monitor. I wasn’t too late.

“Carry?” His voice was barely a whisper, and I could clearly hear the pain in his voice. I rushed to his side, and took his fragile hand in mine.

“I’m here. It’s okay, I’m here.” Tears were falling down my face; I couldn’t stop them. My hands were shaking, and my voice was cracking. He was so pale, and his lips were turning blue. The sight scared me, and I knew that this time, he was actually going to leave. This thought was the most painful one since the day the doctors told us that he had cancer.

“I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I can’t-” he stopped, struggling to go on. “I can’t keep my promise. Not all of them. We can’t have a future together. But I’ll always be with you. In here.” He pointed to my heart, and more tears fell from my face. He dropped his hand, and slid the other one away from mine. He twisted the ring around on his finger, before finally taking it off. “It’s yours.” He handed me the plain gold band that he had always worn around his right ring finger. I had never seen him take it off.

He put it in my hand, and pushed my fingers to hold it. “I can’t take this. It’s yours.” I tried to give it back to him, but he refused to take it.

“I have no more use for it. Take it. When I first had it, it was lucky for me. Let it be lucky for you. Let it be a reminder of how much I love you. Never forget that.”

“I won’t. I promise. I could never forget you. You’re the most real thing that’s ever happened to me. Caleb?” His eyes were closed, and his chest was barely moving.

“It hurts, baby. It hurts so badly.” His hand found mine, and he squeezed with all his strength. “I love you,” he whispered. His hand went limp in mine, and his chest stopped moving. The heart monitor beeped, but it seemed like it was miles away.

“Caleb? Caleb! Caleb, don’t leave me! You promised me you wouldn’t leave me! Somebody help!” I screamed. I was going numb. I couldn’t feel anything. His hand was still wrapped around mine, and it was cold.

When the nurses rushed in with an emergency cart, they moved me out of the way. Caleb’s mom was in the doorway, and I went straight towards her. She was shaking with grief, but she wrapped her arms around me to comfort me. “Don’t leave me!” I screamed.

He was gone. He had left. I was immediately aware of the ring in my hand. I tried to give it to his mom. But she whispered, “He wanted you to have it. Keep it.” When she spoke these words, I slipped it around my left ring finger.

I knew what had happened. But when the doctors told us the news of his passing, I couldn’t help but to scream in pain. I felt like my heart had been ripped out of my chest.






***

A year has passed since the death of Caleb Adam Jase. I was standing in front of his grave, twisting the ring around on my finger. A hand suddenly fell on my shoulder. Without turning, I knew it was his mother. She showed me a box that she was holding in her hand.

“He was going to propose to you. He had it all planned out. He was going to bring you on a boat ride on the lake at night, under the stars. He was going to say something about how the moon was so beautiful, but not nearly as beautiful as you. And then he was going to show you this ring.” She popped open the box, and showed me a diamond ring.

It took my breath away, and fresh tears fell from my face. “I want you to have it.” I shook my head, and told her to keep it. “If you would have said yes, then take it.” She pushed it into my hand. I slid the ring right above the one that he had given me in the hospital. It was a perfect fit. “Did you see what was engraved in it?”

I slid the ring off of my finger, and looked on the inside of the band. “My heart is yours,” it said. I slid the ring back onto my finger, wishing that he was here to give this to me himself.





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