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I held him in my arms

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I held him in my arms. He was mine, and I was his.

We thought the joy from that day would cushion us from worldly things. Then the cancer came. He was weak, but held me in his arms every morning as I left to teach the students, then every afternoon when I came back from my often-horrible day. He was my only lamp to guide me through the dark classes. The warmth next to me in bed at the end of the day was my hope, my reward.

Even that was stolen eventually.

On the day I woke up with a cold body in my arms, I didn’t realize what had happened until he didn’t wake up as I placed his morning cuppa on his bedside table. I rang up school to tell them I wouldn’t be coming in that day and then hung up before Abby asked why. I knew the staffroom would soon be buzzing with malicious comments, but I didn’t care.

The love of my life was dead.

Chaser, John’s cat, was curled up on his owner’s leg. At least he hadn’t realized yet. Something in the grey striped feline’s eyes told me to call someone, talk to them. I called Doug, my brother.

“Hello?”

“Doug. It’s me, Millie.”

“What’s up?”

“A flying pig. Doug, he’s dead.”

“Oh. Are you sure?”

“I used to be a nurse.”

“I’ll be right round with some food.” Doug was married to Denise, a nice girl who I had introduced to him many years ago, when I had graduated in the same year as her. It had been love at first sight, according to Doug, and they were now the parents of three children: a boy and two girls. There would have been one more, but a car had speeded up her passage into God’s arms.

There was a gap of eight between the youngest, Catherine, and the oldest, Malcolm and then a two-year gap between him and Mary. Catherine had talked to me a few times, and was an up-coming author, artist, terrible at instruments, yet owner of a wonderful voice. She said she was lonely.

The doorbell sounded, and I jumped. Ran to the door and unlocked it. Doug was standing there awkwardly with a plate holding two sandwiches. He had probably skipped his breakfast for me. We didn’t need to speak, and there was nothing to speak about anyway. John had written his will as soon as we heard about the cancer. Lung cancer, it was. He said he’d never smoked in his life, but his mother had done so since he could remember.

I pulled the will out of his diary and handed it to Doug. We’d decided to leave Chaser to Catherine, seeing as she was lonely and I would almost probably forget to feed him in the mourning months. Denise had always had her eye on John’s porcelain rabbit collection, and the books he was so keen on were left to Malcolm.

It kept coming back to me: John was dead, and I wasn’t crying.





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MacyGrace said...
Nov. 29, 2011 at 8:39 am
this was a great story. really made me feel the pain.
 
ivefoundaway This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 27, 2010 at 8:26 pm

this is great, impressive for 13 yr old or any age!

i love the euphemism "a car...into God's arms," but i think it might be sped instead of speeded

 
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